Society's Influence on the Artist's Creations – Essay Example

The paper “Society’s Influence on the Artist’s Creations" is an affecting example of an essay on social science. A thought that is ‘seeded’ into an artist’s mind is outputted in his/her work. That ‘seeding’ of thought could be initiated or influenced by the ‘society’, in which the artist lived or lives. Most times an artist will create artistic forms based on what he/she sees, hears, feels and lives. That is, the artist observing or even hearing about the culture, events, etc, existing in the society, will ‘interpret’ it in artistic forms. So, artistic works including paintings will be constructed using influences from the society as the subject matter. When that happens, he/she will be able to bring real-life happenings to canvas or any other form. So, this paper by contrasting the works of Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Roxy Paine's “Crop”, Doris Salcedo's “Shibboleth”, and Martin Puryear's “Ladder for Booker T. Washington”, will discuss the relationship between the artists and society. The paper will first discuss the ways, in which the artist will be influenced by the events of the society, and in reverse, the ways art will influence events in society. Also, the paper will focus on how the artists challenge the values of "conventional" society, by analyzing how controversies related to the works could impact their cultures.

Peter Fischli and David Weiss are the well-known artist duo from Switzerland, who have been collaborating since 1979. Their body of work is normally in the form of motion film, photography, sculptures and also multimedia presentations. All their works are influenced by society as they create artistic works by mainly adapting the objects and situations of their everyday life, often integrating humor and irony in it. Likewise, Roxy Paine, an American artist, also creates artistic forms influenced by society and its objects. The only difference with the Swiss duo’s work is, Paine creates works influenced by nature and natural processes. That is, “his works demonstrate the human attempt to impose order on natural forces, depicting the struggle between the natural and the artificial, the rational and the instinctual” (Wikipedia). “Crop”, created in the mid-1990s is one of his best-known works and it is influenced by the society’s addiction to addictive substances. The art showcases a field of poppies, with pods which have ripened and is showing the raw opium.  “The piece embodies the shifting views of the beauty of a field of wildflowers and the grave potential of drug addiction.” (Wikipedia). The other artist who was also influenced by the society and outputs that influence through her work was Doris Salcedo, the Colombian-born sculptor. Most of her works, including her well-known sculptures were created, influenced by her early experiences in Colombia. Her famous work, “Shibboleth”, a 167-meter-long crack in the Turbine Hall in London, has a lot of influences from the society; in which she lived in as an immigrant. Salcedo says Shibboleth "represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred. It is the experience of a Third World person coming into the heart of Europe." (Wikipedia). Martin Puryear, an American sculptor, created art forms like vessels, weavings, etc in his early stages, fully influenced by his West African roots. His work, “Ladder for Booker T. Washington”, a 36-foot tall zig-zag ladder was also influenced by the society. That is, being an African-American, he wanted to create a ladder that shows “kind of gradual, illusory notion of upward progress that Washington encouraged blacks to adopt in the nineteenth century against an overwhelming set of obstacles to our advancement” (Wikipedia).

Arts influence in society
Swiss artists, Peter Fischli and David Weiss by changing even mundane objects into artistic forms, were able to make the people see them in an all-new perspective. That is, the same simple objects after their creativity was looked with awe by society. Paine was able to make an appeal against drug addiction to the people, through her work “Crop”. Doris Salcedo for her part created ‘Shibboleth’ and influenced the society to look at the treatment meted out to the immigrants. Martin Puryear on the other hand by creating “Ladder for Booker T. Washington” was able to make a statement about the status of black or African-Americans to the society.

Artists challenged "conventional" society and the resultant controversies           
Fischli and Weiss created the groundbreaking film, 'Der Lauf Der Dinge' (The Way Things Go) and provided the society a visual and mental feast. But, Honda Cog advertisement for Honda Accord followed a similar style and that led to protest from the Swiss duo’s side, with legal actions also thought about. Even Doris’ attempt, ‘Shibboleth’ created controversy, with few countries questioning Doris’s attempt to justify illegal immigration. Also, when Puryear named his art as “Ladder for Booker T. Washington”, many thought he was showing overt racial leanings. So, it is clear that society and artists co-exist, to influence and enrich themselves.