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From Peter Korn's "Education of a Craftsman":

"The distinction between the information an object carries and the meaning is critical. Information is intrinsic and permanent. It resides in the objects physical characteristics which are an unchanging record of thousands of decisions made by its maker during its creation. Meaning, on the other hand, is extrinsic, and subjective. It resides in the minds of the respondents, and will differ among them , just as two readers may arrive at divergent interpretations of the same text."

There is also external knowlege known by the respondent (viewer). This can be knowledge of the artist such as the culture it was made in, the age, the history of the artist. Examples of this are knowing of Chuck Close's visual impairment, knowing that Mimbres Indians main "canvas" was the inside of a hemispherical bowl, or that Robert Arneson felt highly influenced by Peter Voulkos. Most often however it is just having seen other works by the same maker.

This raises several questions about a work of art, or an exhibition, or a detail of a work.

  1. What important information is encoded in the work? Does any seem just like white noise without meaning?
  2. What meaning is most likely to be found from this information by the informed viewer?
  3. What meaning is likely to be found by the uniformed viewer?
  4. What meanings are most likely that the artist does not intend or that the artist disagrees with or thinks of as misinterpretations?
  5. What external knowledge is most likely to be carried to this work by informed viewers? Is there any? What external knowledge have they probably missed that is perhaps apparent?
  6. What difference would there be in the writings of two well known, or unknown, critics about the work?
  7. Are there basic philosophical principles encoded in the information in the work, or do these principles only become apparent because of meanings imposed on it by the viewer?
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Page last modified on November 13, 2017, at 10:52 AM