Except Chihuly has not physically produced ANY of the glass sculptures attributed to him since 1979: "...he continued to blow glass until he dislocated his right shoulder in a 1979 bodysurfing accident. No longer able to hold the glass blowing pipe, he hired others to do the work."
It's an interesting thought experiment about what art actually IS: is art the idea behind the piece? Is it the skill that the individual has in physically bringing the piece to life? If the person with the vision doesn't physically produce the outcome, is it still their art?
It's pretty easy to sit back and say "No, of course not, if you only have the vision and don't do any of the work, then you don't get all of the credit!" And yet, think about how this translates over to the technology world. Whose name is associated with the iPhone? Steve Jobs. Did he, alone, design all aspects of the device? Perhaps. Did he code every chip, bevel every edge, sketch every wireframe? No. Did it come to fruition in a vacuum? Of course not, and yet very few of us can name any of the other individuals who collaborated with Jobs. Does Steve Jobs deserve credit for the invention? Of course, and he signed off on every design decision and charted the course for the device to come into existence. However, he was not an independent actor, but a spearheading collaborator with a very large team coming together to work on one project. And yet, Steve Jobs is the name we know.
So in that vein, is Dale Chihuly an artist? If he only designs the pieces (and from what I've seen, "designing" consists of vaguely sketching out colored shapes on large pieces of paper and then overseeing all of the glassblowers who make the various parts of his sculptures) but he never physically produces ANY of the sculptures attributed to his name, does he deserve all of the credit? If he oversees the whole process, start to finish, and has final say on every single aspect of the sculpture, should he be lauded for his vision even though it was not his effort that brought that vision to life?
I sincerely enjoy the fact that people regularly visiting Hacker News think that is an "interesting thought experiment", in the context of art.
Isn't that an interesting thought experiment to question what does a CEO do, for example? But it isn't, since people on HN are mostly familiar in detail with what a CEO does. On the other hand art is somehow assumed to be a special case in our world.
These are two absolutely equivalent questions.
I think this is most due to a romanticized vision of what an artist really is/does. When people think artist, they think of the starving-artist stereotype - locked away alone in their studio pursuing their passion and living in poverty to 'do what they love'. Or, the crazy-genius archetype (think Van Gogh). People attribute creativity to 'natural talent' or 'artistic genius', when it's really a skill that can be sharpened the same as running a business like a CEO would.
Craftsmanship and creative vision are two sides of the same coin art, just as they are in business. You can have a killer business idea, but it's worth nothing without proper execution. The same goes if you are a skilled programmer but have no vision on how to sell your skills.
Running a business is not the same as visual art, literature, mathematics, physics. Most people will spend years sharpening their skills at these things and never produce something of note. It's not romantic to say this, it's just the way it is.
I'm thinking black webpages with pencil thin white fonts. You have to scroll down like 3 meters of page before you get to any content, it's just tag lines every break, staggered on either side of the page.
"After more than a century"
"We revived the master"
"Witness history being made at <blahhbhablh> on <date>"
Then they hold an auction, pay a descendant or two some money and book their trip to Aspen.
For years they were ignored, but they've been growing steadily in value as they come to be seen as worthy Picasso works in their own rights.
They aren't really "new" Picassos, but they hadn't been considered as valid as they are now.
If you want some added legitimacy, drop a paint chip from an authentic Picasso into the mix, homeopathy style. If no one will let you do that, pay someone with some Picasso's to let you leave your paintings in the same room as them for a few weeks. Then, pay someone to write on behalf of the people who did the painting to say they "felt Pablo's spirit working through them, guiding their hand."
Get a descendant to sign off on how emotionally impactful and authentic the whole thing feels and I think you've got a high 5, low six figure painting. Do like 5 of them for your grand debut and I think we have a real RoI.
Yeah a ton of real artists will loudly decry it, articles will be written, teeth will gnash -- but I think they would sell with little to no difficulty.
For one, there's the coach of a team sport. We don't say that the coach played the game, but we do credit them with being a vital part of the team's success or failure. These artists seem more like coaches than CEOs to me.
One big difference between artists and both CEOs and coaches is that the products of an artists are standalone, enduring (except for some new media works) pieces. And I think that difference makes artists and the analysis of a technician in the production of any piece a somewhat unique situation.
How much credit Chihuly deserves varies wildly with how that piece was made. If he had merely said "Make me some yellow/orangish flowers" then he doesn't deserve much credit. If the ~40 flowers we see were the result of 1,000 attempts with him directing ("Make this one 1" bigger, this one less orange" etc.) then he deserves almost all the credit.
Duchamp's fountain is a fine idea that continues to inspire newcomers to that age-old what-is-art question; but truly the material science and manufacturing process and craftsmanship that went in to that urinals design and production are a cause celebre - greater than Duchamp's idea by far IMO.
Now reflect on Warhol's prints; derivative instead of visual design rather than artefact production. But Warhol designed and created the works.
IMO: commissioning art doesn't make you the artist of a final work that required artistic and crafting input from others. Warhol is the artist of his self-made silk prints; Duchamp's input to Fountain is curating, or social commentary.
The same is true in architecture,"Wren's" St. Paul's Cathedral would be nothing without the skilled masons. There's a line there somewhere though -- I wouldn't include the sandwich makers, the steeplejacks, et al., A amongst the creators of that work, ...
(This all brings to mind Gaia Hypothesis.)
Ah, says the modern artist, but the art I create is the image/idea in your mind and the medium I use is other artists and craftsmen ...
The generally accepted answer is "yes, this is composer's art". But it's also generally accepted that those who render the piece also take part in the art, in a different way. The bigger the influence, the more noticeable part it is. You don't normally ask who plays particular violins in an orchestra string group, but you do notice the first violin, and the director; you say "Gould plays Bach", or you say "Band N covers band M's hit". The influence of the performer is very visible, and makes a lot of difference. Still, without the composer's art, their performance would not be possible.
I don't see why this parallel can't apply to other collectively performed art (or any activity).
Likening him to a composer directing his own symphony makes a lot more sense- no one would argue that Mozart wasn't a great artist just because he couldn't play the whole symphony by himself.
A better question to ask is, "If the composer merely told others what to write, is it actually the composer's music?" This is an unbelievably common practice, and IMO, the answer to the question is no.
To me it's like an artist provides a detailed plan of how to build a monument, and then certified builders actually construct it.
Of course if an artist just gives a few rough sketches, and then a civil engineer provides the detailed drawings, and the builders construct the monument by them, then the artist is a co-author at best.
I don't know how specific D. Chihuly was in his instructions. I just think that such a separation of labor is possible, when the artist does the artistic stuff, and a performer follows on with the technical execution. In an extreme case, a machine (such as a music box) can play Bach, but that machine can't play without Bach having written the notes.
It is important to point out that glassblowing is a team-focused effort from the very beginning. Although it is possible to work solo, it makes everything many times harder, and on top of that, makes many standard moves impossible to perform. Even the simplest transfer of a cup form to a punty is best done with at least one assistant, and for wraps and handles, having someone able to take a dip and prep the pull while you work on the main piece is a practical necessity. The Corning Museum of Glass has excellent videos of master gaffers at work that show just what a team effort any form is.
Great fun to watch if you're even slightly interested in glassblowing.
The performer gets a cut. The lyrics writer gets a cut. The melody writer gets a cut.
I'm sure something similar could work.
I'm also recovering from just finding out that the process I thought happened behind artwork was largely false, and has more in common with renaissance painting businesses than the title artists work.
No, of course not: this is why we've had ever increasing numbers of sequels, remakes, franchise films and such. Why lots of heavily promoted music is highly derivative.
Sure, some people invest in riskier stuff, on the hope of much greater returns.
What are they risking, will they suffer in any meaningful way if the project fails?
Their exact cut is generally a balance between the risk, reward, and ability of the venture to happen without them.
Risking the largest absolute financial input is not equivalent to having the highest risk unless you exclude all human value, and consider a dollar to be of equal value to all people.
If the musician was able to provide enough capital/resources on their own by risking their entire livelihood they'd have no need for an investor and could take the entire profits of the venture for themselves.
I'm not making a moral judgement here, I'm just saying that it's a fairly straight forward logic as to why people who "only contributed financing get a bigger cut". The OP is wrong to claim they get a bigger cut because they're already rich, they get a bigger cut because they're risking more capital in the venture. It is secondary that them being rich means they have more capital available to take risks.
Bigger musicians will fetch high prices and in some cases, take on the financial "risk" (almost none since they're a superstar) themselves.
Also, its not like a single bad song is going to ruin a career. Clearly you haven't heard an album from the front to the back if you think that.
Chihuly has litigated and been litigated against by his helpers. His “ paintings” aren’t done by him either. It’s almost like he is a brand.
That opens up another interesting thought process of which is more art, the chandeliers created by Chihuly's hired glassblowers directed by Chihuly himself, or the chandeliers inspired by Chihuly designs which are physically created by Kuster? What imbues a Chihuly design with "art"-ness? The fact that Chihuly signed off on it personally? The fact it was created in his studio and received his blessing?
The market seems to like the price of this imatation art however..
I have no answers to the question you pose but they are interesting to think about.
They have commented on how the "technicians" put a lot of effort and research into turning Chihuly's designs into a piece of glass. They aren't just "cranking it out"; they're figuring out how the pieces can be made, in the first place.
This is without getting into personalties, beyond this rhetorical tease of a sentence.
With Chihuly, as well, the accident really did limit his own physical capabilities.
A lot of people enjoy the work. I saw one of the first "garden" shows, years ago at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, and it was amazing.
But, people should keep in mind that it's a team effort. And the PR might do a bit more to highlight that, as well.
As to the specific case: living in Seattle, I heard nothing but bad things about Chihuly himself, and experienced it firsthand; he was presenting at a Sounders game, and had made a piece to be given to the opposing team. About halfway through the first half I headed in for a snack and the club was dead except him ordering something in front of me. While they were getting his order he turned and looked at me, and I said something simple and nice about his piece. He scoffed dismissively and his handler moved between us. Just came across as snotty.
Modern art does not have that craftsman history but is more known for the 'lone genius'. Public sculpture is a little bit different as it does often require access to industrial tools and materials. Tony Smith would sketch plans for his steel sculptures and send them to an industrial fabricator.
- A work of art, i.e. an artifact
- The skill used to create something
- Something original that changes another person
When we talk about an artist we’re usually talking about the last definition. So technical skill might be required, but the person with the technical skill isn’t necessarily the artist.
E.g. before Jeff Koons went into art he was one of the most talented commodity salespeople of all time. That skill is really the basis of his art, not polishing the metal or whatever.
When AI Weiwei has millions of marbles produced for an art installation we all know he didn't make them, but the examples in this articles are mostly artist taking full ownership of the entire process.
(In showing my age here, but first movie examples that spring to mind) Steven King's ..., Steven Spielberg's ..., I'm not sure if they're all called Steven though.
Some artists get credit akin to celebrity authors on books a ghost-writer wrote.
Even architects do something similar, did Zada Hadid design every cornice and every pillar? I guess its the same with law firms also.
The people doing the actual work should be getting credit.
Of course the people coming up with the ideas should be getting credit too.
When one person comes up with the idea and another with product, it's a collaborative work and credit should be shared.
Artists who try to pass off a work they merely collaborated on as exclusively their own are despicable.
It is striking how differently the art technicians in this article think. They see the idea as having all the intrinsic value. More cynically I wonder if it is really the marketing value of a big name rather than the quality of ideas that count. A great idea by an art student is far less valuable than a great idea from a famous painter or sculptor.
Good examples of ideas and execution is plentyfull in both software and art, just because you get both of them right doesn't mean you will succeed.
Historically, this is extremely wrong. Renaissance artists were the technicians of course. That’s what they were known for.
This is the rot of an industry built on extracting funds from overly wealthy patrons with no limit to the amount of dishonesty.
That's only partially true.
While Renaissance masters usually had the skill to execute a fully finished work, and probably did so during their own apprenticeship, by the time they became masters they often had workshops of dozens or even hundreds of assistants who did almost all of the work for them. After the work was almost complete, the master might come in and put on some finishing touches.
There's lots of art out there these days that's misattributed to the master when it was actually done by one of his assistants in the workshop, whose training was usually centered around creating art that looked just like the master's.
If you think Duchamp was pulling a fast one you'll probably think Emin to be some sort of queen of hustlers.
Like many businesses, the art business is primarily driven by marketing. The act of painting is largely orthogonal to the act of persuading an oligarch that your painting is valuable.
Which is more an indictment of the Capitalist system than anything else.
An architect comes up with the overall concept and, if they're famous, gets their name on the building. But they still have a roomful of structural engineers figuring out how to stop it falling down.
Or a musician. Creating an album takes a team of session musicians, producers, engineers etc. But it's the artist's name that goes on the front.
I think what people don't see when they compare art to another industry like software, engineering or architecture in their examples is just how much work will go into a specific piece of art and just how corrupt the current art establishment is.
Technical skill is hidden away to the point where people don't even really know the involvement of artists when it comes to stuff like art technicians. In fact I had a tough time convincing people I know that cgi isn't "all done by computers" and that actually the level of raw artistic skill in videogames is unbelievably high.
I think it's right to be upset about credit being apportioned fairly. If a person is able to pretend they created a work of art whilst someone else profits off of it then that behavior will only be encouraged. Fundamentally though the decision does rest with the individual artists in question who offer their work up to people who give them no recognition. Ultimately if they're ok with it then perhaps there isn't a problem, but if not, then they should find a way in which to work where they are fairly rewarded for their efforts. Expecting the system to change or expecting people to stop taking advantage of others is unlikely to change anything.
A good analogy would be if Hollywood films didn't list credits and pretended that only the director worked on the film and did everything by themselves.
It would be insulting for people to believe that a director did 100% of the work on one of their films and ignored the entire crew. Not sure why this doesn't apply to the art world where teams are way more common than people believe.
If so and so has the idea and so and so executes it, the there is a director and an artist working under the director. It seems extremely clear that to use assistants for more than grunt work and calling the finished product your own solo piece is quite dishonest. If we're all so obsessed with the Romantic ideal of the lone genius ala van Gogh, that's both ahistorical and silly of us.
Many cooks work for a chef, and some grow on to become chefs.
As far as I can see he pretty much hires every art graduate within a reasonable radius of his art factory. They do the majority of the production work, to his specifications. Eventually they get bored and leave to do their own stuff.
Another guy I know is a sort of 'special projects' consultant for artists, figuring out particular logistical or engineering challenges. It sounds really fun.
The lack of transparency is what makes both of them bad. It would be one thing if an established member vouched for someone new as a supervisor to be clear they followed existing standards of experimentation and research or explicitly admitted they went from a 1/20th scale model to a granite and steel statue with modifications because the original was structurally unsound with different materials.
People say this a lot but I don't see it at all. The graduate students go first on the paper author list, and the professor goes last.
The graduate students wouldn't want to be listed last, because at their stage of their career they want to be seen as doing the work, and the professors wouldn't want to be listed first, because at their stage of their career they want to be seen as supervising not doing the actual work.
The system seems really clear to me, and you can give your 'credit' (what that is that you really mean, since it's a bit abstract) to whichever of those people you want.
Or you could see the research as the collaborative process that it is and credit everyone!
>Medical ghostwriters are employed by pharmaceutical companies and medical-device manufacturers to produce apparently independent manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations and other communications. Physicians and other scientists are paid to attach their names to the manuscripts as though they had authored them. The named authors may have had little or no involvement in the research or writing process.
>It is difficult to determine how frequently ghostwriting occurs due to its covert nature. A 2009 New York Times article estimated that 11% of New England Journal of Medicine articles, 8% of JAMA, Lancet and PLoS Medicine articles, 5% of Annals of Internal Medicine articles and 2% of Nature Medicine were ghost written. Between 1998 and 2005 Wyeth had 26 papers promoting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) published in scientific journals.
> Previously secret internal Wyeth documents providing evidence of this are viewable on the Drug Industry Document Archive. It also appears to have occurred in 75% of industry funded trials between 1994 - 1995 approved by the Scientific Ethical Committees for Copenhagen and Frederiksberg. Of the articles published from 1998 to 2000 regarding sertraline, between 18% and 40% were ghost written by Pfizer. A questionnaire using comparable methods in 2005 and 2008 with a 14-28% response rate found a decrease in number of people who reported ghostwriting among professional medical writers.[24
The problem is that all sorts of things happens in academics:
The grad student is first author and the professor is last author, and people see the credit that way.
The grad student is first author and the professor is last, but people see the prof as the "real" first author. Look at citation formats and explain why the last author is kept on lengthy author lists in many. It's because last author doesn't mean least work anymore. I know a colleague who quietly started jockeying to be last author on papers because he knew it was almost as/more prestigious than first.
The grad student is first and the professor is anywhere else but people assume that it's the profs work because "grad students are just learning" or some such thing.
The grad student deserves the credit but is second or third or something else because of power differentials involving all the other authors.
The grad student should be sole author because they're the one with the idea and the one who did the work but profs expect credit because they read a draft and offered some minor feedback.
A coauthor formulating and doing the analyses, without whom the paper could not exist because they were the ones translating the theories into quantifiable testable models, are left off the paper because "analyses don't deserve credit" or something.
Really, anything and everything goes in academics. It's broken. I realize that there are people/groups who practice with integrity but this is not something you can assume everywhere. Even when people are trying to have integrity, weird scenarios develop that have no good solutions.
I think this issue with art technicians vs artists is really a model of many problems with income inequality in society. The implementation matters. The people who bring it to fruition matter. They deserve credit and compensation. Ideas without execution are just ideas. I honestly can't believe we even entertain the idea that execution is valueless, or that we have discussions where people fetishize Steve Jobs so much that he's treated as the sole creator behind the iphone, as if he caused it to materialize out of thin air, and the previous phones by LG, and the engineers, and designers, and everyone else are just stupid uncreative hacks who were just following Job's orders down to the microcircuitry on the chips.
Its fraud and it's rampant in society today. For some reason we're uncomfortable with the messy reality that almost every innovation or product is the result of some distributed, collaborative effort, and often really involves many people making small contributions.
> For some reason we're uncomfortable with the messy reality that almost every innovation or product is the result of some distributed, collaborative effort, and often really involves many people making small contributions.
These two points seem at odds to each other, why should the professor be given no credit?
Think of a fabricator as an OEM. iPhones are manufactured by Foxconn, and I'm sure their technicians contribute greatly to the manufacturing and design, but it's still the Apple logo that gets stuck on the back.
They certainly are art in this context.*
And I'd argue that Apple are one of the few tech companies that genuinely view their products as art objects, as well as being boxes of mass-produced consumer technology.
* There's a wider question about whether the mere act of displaying something in a gallery makes it art, but its one that many fine art postgrads haven't been able to get to the bottom of yet :)
Speaking very broadly:
Designers manifest other people's ideas for money.
Art is more when you bring your own ideas into the world because you want to.
so like it or not i would say that iphone is a piece of art that others loved and copied. (which is good and completely natural).
FWIW we're not taking about apprentices doing blocking-in, backgrounds, or minor characters.
I'm by no means an art expert, but I'm surprised that people would be surprised.
The local TV show that covers artists always shows their assistants and such working with them and outright producing the art.
When I've gone on visits to artists studios often the assistants are there, they are all upfront about what they do, and / or the artist talks about who else they work with (send the concept to others to produce) to make larger size and quantity pieces depending on the project.
I have never felt there was any attempt to hide any of it...
Yes, that's sure as hell what I thought. I mean, the whole point of being an artist is you create the work.
It's a lot less talent to tell someone what to do.
This article left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
If you are more curious about the contemporary art world market and why $29M is not that expensive, I recommend "The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art".
In general, brand (in this case Christie's and Sotheby's) ranks supreme above all else. Once you are branded, you can pretty much sell anything as expensive art.
Also, an interesting factoid - when we hear of Far East/Middle East buyers bidding tens of millions (or more) for a painting, we naturally tend to think - who buys that without seeing it - but as the book points out - the painting has most likely gone to see the buyer already (e.g. Dubai/Hong Kong pre-auction private tour).
Excerpts from the book:
"Money itself has little meaning in the upper echelons of the art world -- everyone has it. What impresses is ownership of a rare and treasured work such as Jasper Johns' 1958 White Flag. The person who owns it (currently Michael Ovitz in Los Angeles) is above the art crowd, untouchable. What the rich seem to want to acquire is what economists call positional good; things that prove to the rest of the world that they really are rich."
Jasper Johns' White Flag
Estimates on the artist economy:
"40k artists resident in London (about same number in NYC)
For London and NYC each:
75 superstar artists (>$1M/yr income)
300 mature, successful artists (>$100k/yr income)
5,000 part time artists (need to supplement their income)"
 "If a great apartment costs $30 million, than a Rothko [big deal famous contemporary artist] that hangs in the featured spot in the living room can also be worth $30 million - as much as the value of the apartment. But no one could envision a $72.8 million apartment to use for comparison..."
Anyway, you could look it up: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/magazine/i-was-jeff-koons...
I think an Artist with huge experience of certain materials and processes can readily outsource work but I think an artist working solely in the idea sphere misses an opportunity for development.
I often think of David Lynch trying and failing to do the Elephant Man makeup himself and then yielding to a specialist - he must have learned and thought a lot about what he wanted doing that.
1) Whether things are fully defined by concepts (and therefore symbolic representation) or whether there's something to objects that's fundamentally process-oriented; (this comes closer do Hubert Dreyfus' critique of AI)
2) Whether concepts themselves can be conceived as products of pure ideation, or whether there is the "concept-making process" of which concept-makers are technicians (this comes perhaps as a critique of pure conceptual art; for one, every pure mathematician knows you learn the stuff by doing and acquiring instincts), and, conversely
3) Whether meaningful things can be produced as pure process, fabrication, algorithm; or whether there's a necessary conceptual aspect to processes; whether an artisan carpenter or decades-experienced plumber have a concept built into their muscle memory and analytic instincts. (This comes close to programming: why, after so much process-development, is programming still so much a creators thing?)
(I once visited a place in Silicon Valley which did just that. I was having boxes made for boxed software, and went to the printing plant. They had a huge multicolor press, about a hundred feet long. This could print not just four colors, but about ten. It could be loaded with inks of different specularity, so you could get shiny gold ink effects and such. The press was busily printing collectible art prints, good ones that looked like paintings. About two per second. The plant mostly did software boxes, but on slow days, they cranked out art.)
Even the instrument that I play... it bears the name of a master, but there's no secret about the fact that it was produced in a workshop, as the fiddles "made" by Stradivarius probably were.
Band is a thing from elementary school to college. So it's facially idiotic to the man on the street to call a single trumpet player "the artist".
The apparatus to deliver a major pop event is very visible, literally. And it's also obvious that the band didn't put up the stacks of speakers, run the mixing board, etc.
Whereas for a sculpture or painting, it just shows up. Voila! Often without any artist visibly involved. There's now a thing on the sidewalk, or in a museum or gallery.
There's probably a nice way to express this using the term "degrees of alienation", but I can't figure it out before I go back to work. :)
You're talking about making money, but no mention of making music.
A better argument is that art is getting more technical.
or even just that's it's getting physically bigger.
Also, when music is commercial it's still called music.
Art stops being art when it's made for money. It becomes illustration, design, decoration or some such thing.
Historically a lot of EU or American artists are pretty much trust fund kids. because if you need to think about money all the time... you can't make art. Art requires some modicum of genuine freedom and most people need money to find it.
I'm not sure how that works for music.
And this is why "Art For Art's Sake" was invented when the middle class began to encroach on the upper class's ownership of art and the ability to make it. After all, if your social inferiors can do something, is it really special? No. So either abandon it, or define it to be something those people can't do after all.
I suspect most musicians also don't draw a bright line between artistic and commercial work.
"All them eager actors /
gladly taking credit /
For the lines created /
by the people tucked away from sight"
It applies to companies as well.
These days, in the sway of the auteur theory, it's more the director taking credit for the whole show, at least in the minds of critics.
Apparently, movies need authors, and the director was chosen as being authorial. Movies with one author (The Room) are seen as being better than movies which were collaborations (Citizen Kane) as the former are more tractable to the modern critical theories.
Example: Grab an album by Steve Vai (you should check him out if you don't know his music, btw)... somewhere in the album booklet you're gonna see a mention of the band members that helped him perform the music that he wrote.
What we are seeing here imho is the mixed case between hip hop (where every collab and participation is featured, to oblivion) and ghost writing in songwriting and fiction (where no one ever appears or gets credit). It's a good thing some 'ghost artists' are coming out and revealing this stuff.
To my mind it's about the idea and conception of the work. And when the technician improves the design or idea then that's when it moves into being a collaboration.
The issue, I think, lies in the lack of shared credit that's granted in the art world to people whose labor and skills are utilized to realize the work.
Across most of the arts, the work of many artisans, craftspeople, technicians and workers is poured into the realization of an artwork, and across most of the arts those people receive some sort of credit. The film industry is maybe the best example here. In "cinema" the director gets top billing, but ample credit also goes to the screenwriter, cinematographer, sound designer & so on.
"Fine art" is an exception to the rule and I think this has to do with a mythology built around the artist that began in the modern era, coinciding with the movement in European painting from frescoes embedded in architectural setting to oil on canvas and the advent of the art object as a commodity. During the modern era and up through modernism, it became much more common for artists (and painters in particular) to work alone in their studios etc. etc.
Today, the role and scale of art has shifted again, and more craftspeople are often involved in the production of a single artwork than they were in the 1700s through the 1950s, but the mythology and institutional frames available remain stuck on the model of the single creator. I think this is just one of the many contradictions between material realities of contemporary art and the narratives and markets built around them. Maybe (hopefully) we're beginning to call some of that into question.
As an artist who has worked for other artists in the role of fabricator, there is a funny feeling when an artist hasn't touched (much less, seen, in one case!) the artwork that you've built for them until it's displayed under their name. In these cases I've never felt personally slighted, but it's weird knowing that only a subset of people working in the art world - artists, fabricators, gallerists, etc. - understand how many peoples' work often goes into making a big ambitious show. I think film-style credits would be an appropriate acknowledgement and some artists are actually beginning to do this.
There's no difference between collecting fine art and collecting stamps. A stamp may be pretty, but its purpose is to be scarce, difficult to copy, and to have a clear provenance from a known issuer.
This article is essentially addressing the classic 'art vs. craft' question. From the perspective of art history, the technician, here, is not understood as the artist. She is understood as a skilled laborer who will be properly remunerated upon completion of her work (regardless if the work sells).
The other individual is understood to be the artist because it is she who 1) had the initial will/reason to make the work, 2) conceived of the idea and the object-form that this idea would take, 3) will assume risk for the work even if it 'fails,' and it is through _her_ history of production (and not that of the technician's) that the work will be valued and possibly historicized.
The canonical reference for the 'art vs. craft' question is Duchamp, who in 1914 presented his "Bottle Rack" as his art (an industrially produced rack for drying bottles) and later his famed "Fountain" (an upside down porcelain urinal) deeming them "ready-mades."
A more recent example can be found in the work of Jeff Koons. See this conference from 2008 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mbnWJNUtEc "The Koons Effect: Fabrication: Between Technology and Craft"
The analogies to a CEO, coach, architect etc will fall down because in none of those jobs does she, at the end, singularly own the entire physical and intellectual property of the object created when collaboration is involved...and of course in many cases there isn't a physical 'object' but rather a performance, a set of instructions, etc. While that is the point of the article, I think it's worth highlighting because it changes how an artist behaves and works with their 'team', hidden or not. It's also representative of how unusual a field art is. Another example is simply what happens in the buying and selling of Contemporary Art...investment funds secretly colluding with galleries to prop up auction prices which they then use as new (inflated) baselines to sell work to their own clients, members of museum acquisition boards arranging for their institution to buy works of artists that they personally own, tax evasion on a massive scale, etc. Conflicts of interest that might put people in prison in other fields can sometimes be part of my normal business day.
I like reading HN discussions about art because there are always attempts to think through an issue from first principles, where those first principles are some commenter's personal definition of what art 'is'. Artists don't do that. Trying to argue about what art 'is', amongst artists, generally stops after your first year in art school because the most popular definitions of art are self-reflexive (Dickie's "Institutional Definition" is the classic one). This self-reflexivity of Art implies that the definition of an Artist is also circular...which I'd suggest makes any sort of 'standard model' of the accepted behaviour of Artists difficult to pin down. To put it another way: in my experience, Art tends to be anything on the spectrum between “What Happens” and "What Someone Will Pay For". How to codify that as a field is nebulous enough. Now imagine creating, much less enforcing, a set of ethical labour practices specific to this field. And again, instead of these circularities being immediately thrown out as they would be in many other disciplines, they are seen as a part of Art's unique character as a field itself.
Is it time that we own up to the fact that nobody exists in a vacuum? Can we skip straight to the socialism part?
This is about artists going to people who are already experts in their field and having them construct the art, but taking (or being given) all of the credit for it.
Are you morally outraged that Marc Jacobs does not personally cut and sew every garment bearing his name? Are you shocked to learn that many pop stars are entirely unable to write, produce or play music?
No, it's not. There is no training being given. These are not apprentices learning how to create art, they are skilled professionals carrying out work that the artist themselves is often incapable of. An apprentice learns their skills from their master and could be seen as a creation of the master, art technicians are simply there to do the work.
> Are you morally outraged that Marc Jacobs does not personally cut and sew every garment bearing his name? Are you shocked to learn that many pop stars are entirely unable to write, produce or play music?
No, and I never said I was outraged at the art technicians not getting credit, since they themselves are certainly don't seem to be. However there the public perception is that the artist who gets the credit is the one who did the majority of the work when this if often not the case.
The artist actually sculpted everything in clay (in scale models) or made rather accurate sketches on paper, then they were adapted/modified slightly (and interactively with the artist) to make them actually "buildable" (either in wood or in pre-cast concrete) and transportable to the exhibition site.
It never came to our minds that the "art" in the scupltures was not entirely by the artist, my father considered himself an artisan, and simply executed (well and in practice) what the artist view was.
And a modern artist told his technician how to do his work.
In this sense, I think the boundary is much more fluent. In my personal opinion, the artist is the person who has the "most established name" to sell the piece of art that he branded under his name to rich people.
So your suggestion, of course refined gallantly in a way that makes it presentable in polite society, does not sound that absurd to me.