Monday, October 12, 2015

In Jonathan Gruber's documentary 'Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos', Beerman states in an interview that she does not like to talk about the meaning of her work. She says that she believes what her work means to a person is very important, and telling them what it means would only lessen it's impact. This got me thinking about the subjectivity of art, which is something that has always interested me a lot. Marshall McLuhan also mentions this in The Medium is the Massage, saying that "Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perceptions." (41) In other words, despite the fact that these experiences as a whole may create cultural change, each persons experience of media is unique. This topic is a complicated one, which brings up many questions. Does an artist have the right to tell people how to interpret their work? Do people have the right to ignore the artist's intention in favor of their own interpretations? Which matters more, the interpretation of the artist, or that of those experiencing the art? Are their certain people who should be allowed to reinterpret and artists work and others who should not? If so, how do we decide who those people are? Personally, I have always believed that it is unfair of an artist to tell people how or how not to interpret their art. As an artists myself, however, I also understand that sometimes the urge to explain your intentions is hard to resist. In the end, however, I believe that an artist should learn to trust those that appreciate their work to make a meaningful interpretation, regardless of whether said interpretation is 'the right one'.


  1. The points you bring up about interpreting art are very interesting. I like how you drew your analysis back to McLuhan's explanation of the environment. However, as a viewer, I have always secretly wanted to know the artist's intentions (after trying to make my own), and as an artist, I have always wanted to keep my intentions out of my work. In any case, I do agree with you that an artist should trust their viewers in making a meaningful interpretation.

  2. This is a really cool point. I think that I agree that people should get to make up their minds about what a piece of art means. It makes me think of my AP English class in high school and how I'd read a book and really like it, but then we'd go through and analyze it and it would totally ruin the book for me. I think maybe it's more important to know about the artist than to know specific details about their work. Sometimes it's great to hear from the artist what they're trying to express, but I think for me at least, that's something I like to hear after I've known the piece for a while and made my mind up about it.