Re: Fwd: from Eliot who used a different email address

Subject: Re: Fwd: from Eliot who used a different email address
From: Richard Wentk (
Date: Tue Feb 01 2005 - 22:37:41 EST

At 02:45 02/02/2005, you wrote:

>What would be a term for musicianship in the visual arts? Does it exist?

Musicianship really means being able to play pieces of a certain complexity
successfully, and to be able to recognise and label certain sonic constructs.

There's no concept of performance in fine art (okay, there is, sort of, but
not in the musical sense) because there's no repertoire to 'play.'

In fine art there's draughtsmanship, which means being to draw something
accurately. But more general visual literacy is much more important for
creative work, and it's impossible to define it formally. If you're
visually minded you'll know it when you see it, and there are some very
basic rules about shape and colour to get you started. But you can't say
that someone is a Grade 5 fine artist, as opposed to a Grade 6 artist, or a
Grade 1 artist who's still struggling with red and isn't quite sure what
squares are for.

>Musicianship in music does not seem to stop with technical skill either,
>but I cannot think of how a visual artist would understand this idea.

I don't think they would. What I liked about Janet Cardiff's piece was that
it wasn't about the technical skill behind either the recording or the
music. Instead it was about the music in a very direct way - how people
rehearse, perform, create, and experience it. And I know from friends'
comments that that's exactly what they took away from it. It has an
immediacy and warmth that's much missed in academic EA. If Kevin thinks
people found it off putting, all I can say is that no one I talked to would
agree with that.

I think some of that immediacy comes from the visual training, which -
although it comes loaded with a lot of intellectual baggage of its own - is
still much more concerned with experience than with architecture.


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