I’ve recently watched an interview with L.A. based artist Gary Baseman from 2008. In it, Baseman questions what exactly pop culture is in the artworld and how the distinction between lowbrow and highbrow have become more blurred. In the past, comic and illustration-y work held no validity in the realm of “fine arts”, but today they are enjoying a renascence of sorts. Graphic artists are being given more credit.
The interview itself is structured in a fairly basic question and answer format. You can see that the interviewer is quite familiar with Baseman and can probably predict the direction of his responses. I would say that he was being an objective listener and not sticking strictly to his pre-planned question sheet. The objective of this interview was not only to introduce Baseman as a down-to-earth-guy, but to discuss the fusion of popular media and culture.
In the time since this interview I feel that popular visual culture has fused and melted and become even more this strange new creature. Who can say what is art and what isn’t anymore? There is so much work that defies conventional categorization, let alone this tiered system of what qualifies art to be taken seriously. Obviously the internet has exponentially increased the world’s collective exposure to cultures. Is street art “real art” or is it defacing property to get your name out. Are people who use instagram photographers or just people with cameras? What are the qualifiers of being a legitimate artist? Are cartoons art or entertainment? Not being able to be defined clearly within the established perimeters of “art” makes deciding what “good art” is a very fluid process.page”