Skill (Webster Dictionary) :
a : the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance.
b : dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks.
c : a learned power of doing something competently : a developed aptitude or ability.
One of the thoughts I had when we were discussing how “The Fountain” had been a turning point in art, is the expansion of the word “skill”. What’s is an artistic skill today. Is there even such a thing? I came to understand, that artistic skill doesn’t have to be judged only by “b” definition (above), that a piece of art can be appreciated in a more complexed matter.
I feel that the Readymade “movement” allowed us, as audience, to forget about the artist. The artist almost has no signature (literarily), we don’t see his “brush strokes” or his unique use of material and perspective. The dexterity is of no use here, and as an artist you no longer need to prove your motor and cognitive abilities. If I imagine myself as a citizen of the world in 1917, watching “the fountain” I would be mind blown. I would say: “hey, I could have thought of that” . I don’t need to be an amazing painter or sculptor. There’s no need to start drawing or make models when you’re 10 years old. The fact that artistic skill could simply be the ability to point out stuff that usually would go unnoticed, is mind baffling.
I sometimes think that maybe this had some negative remefactisons. The labor of making an art piece is being mocked perhaps. Our appreciation for someone else’s work is not only of the outcome, but also of the effort, the pain, the emotion put to a piece. Could all of this happen because it was Marcel Duchamp who laid out the urinal? Did the emperor had no clothes? Is it all a big evolutionary joke? I don’t know. All I feel is that thanks to the rise of Dada, pop-art, etc we are looking differently on the world we live in. We are questioning reality, we are questioning our societies, we are breaking barriers that our ancestors were too afraid to break. The artist had stoped to try and show us himself and his skills. He is now showing us who we are.
Digital art is an evolutionary step when is comes to skill. I would even say a regression. A digital artist needs a considerable amount of knowledge (less skill) in order to make a great piece. There is an obvious race of who knows how to use this software or that device. I feel, that the necessity of skill or capabilities in the digital art world is getting bigger and bigger.