Artbite #8 – Commission and expression can both be good parents of creativity

Commission and expression are both good parents of creativity.
This became a little clearer to me after reading a recent comment by Robert Dickhoff, that:
Art made to order [doesn’t have] the same value as art made for love.

I replied:
Robert, I think the world is more nuanced than that. Art seems to me to be about overcoming the obstacles that first prevent its creation, then the details of design or process that limit its potential. Once the inevitable limitations (perhaps parameters is a better word in some instances) have been identified, then the work can begin to develop from an inevitably individual combination of each artist’s search for a personal truth, aspiration and commercial situation (if any).
I believe that a significant body of J S Bach’s sublime works were made under the duress of having to compose regularly for the choir of which he was master, under contract as it were.
Is a screenplay necessarily less complete as an artwork because it is commissioned, and further because it can only exist as part of a collaboration?
Dickens wrote many of his novels to order as serials in a newspaper, so was certainly writing to fulfil a quota.
Mention any significant painters’ significant works and the myriad of factors at play between creation and consumption are evident. I want to use Picasso and Velazquez, as Guernica and Las Meninas both hang in Madrid, are painted by Spanish painters commenting on the apparatus of a state at war and on the reporting of the actualities of war. Both these affecting and effective paintings are monumental, almost certainly the masterpieces of their makers and each would require a thesis to untangle the precise circumstances of their status on the scale between commission and personal outpouring of that mixture of skill, raw ability and political and commercial nous.

All art requires collaborations, at the very least between artist and viewer, to exist at all.



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