Friday, March 02, 2012

Art or Craft?

When appreciating art most people fall into two distinct categories, those that ‘get’ the abstract and those that ‘don’t’. The latter group tend toward realism and in my opinion in many cases this rounds the work down to technique over content. Whilst the ability can be breathtaking in its depictions and remarkable with its intricacies two of the most common phrases that the artist/craftsperson is likely to hear are: ‘That looks SO real’ or ‘That must have taken AGES to make?’ Both are meant to be complimentary.
Now if we look at the way cooking is presented in eateries outside of the home environment, could you apply the same litmus test?
I think you can.
‘The more someone knows about food the less they want it messed around with’, is an idiom that I’ve always remembered but I reckon it has even more significance in today’s world. It takes some understanding and interest in food to come to a point where one might appreciate the taste and texture of an heirloom carrot over one from a Monsanto catalogue.
Put those same baby carrots into a dish where they have the leading role and stand back and regard the audience as it divides like Mitosis does an amoeba.
‘Its just carrots, I could have done that’ or ‘$17 for a plate of carrots, what a rip-off!’
This is not the point. Of course you could do it and price is relative, the point is you didn’t do it because you aren’t thinking about the subject in the same way as the cook. So: Does this make that carrot dish any less worthy just because it has taken a familiar and commoditised item and interpreted it with a reverence that is unnoticed by many people? I don’t think so.
It just means that ‘you’ don’t value this interpretation. This would be all OK if it not for the routinely verbose methods of objection which ricochet like bullets around dining rooms, blogs and reviews-sites until they strike their target and become validated by being read or listened to.
Just because you don’t ‘get it’ does not make it wrong.


steve said...

1. For the record its Wikipedia not wikipaedia
2. As you rightly point out, I'm not an expert in literature, art or poetry but this doesn't mean I can't have a crack at it
3. I'm entitled to my opinions
4. I'm not afraid to express them
5. I have the courage to put my name to my posts

something you clearly lack

Anonymous said...

If it looks like crap - craft.
If it looks like good - art.

I don't think food is art myself. Not without intent. If it's made to look pretty, and is viewed by the diner as pretty, then it is art. That's pretty rare.

A little more common is craft. A craftsman to me is someone who is qualified and extremely competent in what they do. When you get a dish that doesn't look like art, but shows excellent technique and balance of flavours, you've got yourself something created by a craftsman.

Most of the time it is neither craft or art. These dishes either: look like crap; taste like crap; are cooked to crap; aren't cooked to crap; are a mixture of these; all of the above. You find these everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Food is not art, its food. Boys are more likely to ponce about showing off with their technique than women. Women just cook.

meika said...

Art is something you collect, craft is something you use, it can be the same object, but if we make it ourselves then that changes everything. MONA memorializes the end of the difference between art and craft and sport and ...