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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #1 
Say something that's 100% honest about the art of Magic. Your post can be long or short.

Lets discuss this..

Logan,

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #2 
    It's all tricks - the magic is in the spectators' minds.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #3 
Magic is important.

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Gareth

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Its only magic, if it can only be magic.
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Craig Alan

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Reply with quote  #5 
Magic....for the most part is not acknowledged as a true performance art, is not respected by the general lay public and the impact it can have is not appreciated on average.  

Reason being is because that most performances the lay are exposed to is performed by "magicians" that don't treat it as art, that don't give it the respect it deserves and they themselves don't appreciate the impact it can have on them as performers and/or their lay public.


So to echo Mike's statement....magic is important.  Let's treat it as such.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #6 
I think Craig is correct in noting that magic doesn't get respect. A friend who is a juggler, distinguishes between the arts and the "lower arts." The lower arts, by his definition, are the circus type acts i.e. juggling, magic, maybe mime et al.

When a committee decides to have a "performing arts festival" in town, they never think of a magician. You get actors, dancers, musicians. You might get a mime but rarely a magician. "Hey get the kids there's a magician..." Ouch.

I saw Chris Corn last weekend at the PebblePalooza convention. Barrett was there too. He made a point about magic being important and how we all need to work on the public image of magic. I think he's totally right. Let's all consciously work on that. Be proud to be a magician. I know that I have been guilty in that regard. When someone says, "What do you do?" hold your head high and say "I'm a magician." Be proud and also be ready to prove it!

Mike
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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #7 
Magic is not an art.

(Edit* posted this before I read Craig and Mike's responses)

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Gerald Deutsch

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Reply with quote  #8 
The purpose of magic is to entertain and many magicians forget this.
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EVILDAN

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I have mixed thoughts about magic and thoughts about it not being considered high art. 

I think part of the problem is that anyone can walk into a magic shop on a Friday, buy a bunch of tricks, print out some business cards on their computer, create a facebook page and start advertising their services as a magician to hire. 

A few nails in our coffin: "Self-Working" "Easy to Do" "No Skill Required"

High art is the starving artist devoting all their time to their art and their vision. High art isn't "self-working." Paint by number of the velvet Elvis's that you can by in Tijuana aren't high art. But compare that to minimalism, pop art and dadaism and you really wonder what defines art as high art? 

It can be argued that fine visual arts (painting, sculpture, etc.) takes skill and vision. Throughout art history we see how new styles grew out of older styles and how artists pushed the boundaries of what popular culture deemed art. And then somewhere in the 20th century I feel it hit a wall. There's really nothing new. After minimalism, pop art and dada, what was left? I remember seeing art sold in malls or in starving artist shows. This was "Living Room Art" and lower than whale poop. So what defines high art today? In my experience going through a fine arts program in college; it takes a good line of BS and good marketing. Kostabi is an artist who sold his work for thousands and then millions of dollars a painting. He designed the painting and then had art students create the actual work for minimum wage. So there's his unique contribution to the fine art world. There's a story that Sly Stallone bought one of his painting for 5 million dollars. When asked how he felt about Sly Stallone buying his painting for 5 million dollars, he said that Stallone was stupid. He wouldn't pay 5 million for one of his paintings. Stallone caught wind of that and demanded his money back for the painting. Kostabi obliged and when the news interviewed him about it, he said, "Stallone's even stupider than I thought. Not only do I have a Kostabi to sell, but now I have a Kostabi that was once owned by Sylvester Stallone. 

When you go to see a musician be it a solo artist or a band, you can see them play or hear them sing. You see what makes their art go to that next level. I can't play a quarter note to save my life so when I see someone like Jimmy Page taking a violin bow to a guitar or Eddie Van Halen tapping on a fret board and creating crazy sounds or just watching the blur of Johnny Ramone's right wrist as he plays lead guitar...well, you can SEE THE TALENT. 

Magic is a hidden art. And that's part of the problem. People don't know what it takes to create what we do. I think Penn & Teller's "expose" of cigarette sleights showing all the work that a magician has to go through just to make it appear that he's just lighting a cigarette and throwing it on the ground. Some magicians cried exposure. I thought, that this would give insight on what we do and how hard we have to work to make the difficult appear to be natural  and effortless at that. 

Magicians are two-faced though. On one hand they'll cry out at exposures. On the other hand they're perfectly comfortable with a gambling demo where they are exposing and demonstrating second , false shuffles, riffle stacking, etc. Once again, I think gambling demos showcase the skill that one must have in order to be able to do something simple as shuffling and dealing cards BUT controlling who wins and loses. 

Is exposure good for magic? No. People don't need to know HOW we do things. But they should be aware that WE DO THINGS and it takes skill. If you walk away thoroughly entertained and don't have a clue how I did anything that's high art. It gets lower as you leave without being entertained or knowing how things are done to to bad technique, bad execution, or bad blocking. 

So how do we do this? I wish I knew. 

But to leave on a positive note, I love magic and live and think about it 24/7.


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David

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Reply with quote  #10 
You know it when you see it.
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ianmcrawford

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Reply with quote  #11 
Magic is an art form, a beautiful, unique art form and magicians need to take their craft seriously.  We collectively need to elevate the art form by bringing our very best to magical performance. People rarely experience magic, we have a chance to bring a memory that will last a lifetime.  Use your power wisely.

Onward.....


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #12 
Different reactions:

"Wow - that was fun."

"Wow - I'm blown away. That was a unique experience."

I think the first reaction happens when people see a comedy magician. The second one when they see Jeff McBride's full evening show or Derek DelGaudio's show. These shows qualify as "high art" IMHO.

And there's a lot of middle ground between these two types of experiences.

Mike
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #13 
Speaking of in between experiences.

I've read about magicians who don't like to have cards signed because it ruins the deck. 
I've read about other magicians who have the cards signed, keep the cards and have an "autograph deck" just to keep it intact. 

I have cards signed and let the people keep them. I perform TAG by Chastain Criswill and Mark Mason and let them keep the card with my business card attached. 

And nothing brings a bigger smile to my face when these people come back to these events in following years, carrying their signed cards to show me that they still have it. 

I'm pretty sure that's an in between experience that Mike is referring to. 
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JohnnyNewYork

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Reply with quote  #14 

Hello!  This is apparently/obviously a very deep topic, and the well-thought opinions posted above demonstrate the complexity involved when defining magic, specifically in artistic terms that deal with the in-between areas mentioned by Mike and Evildan.

True art, in any form, has historically always been a debatable issue.  A closely-related distinction that may make such a definition and thoughts easier to realize is that between commercialism and art.  The former is motivated by more “base” influences, such as monetary gain, political power, or mass popularity, while the later is motivated by our attempt to achieve ultimate perfection through the unique expression using various mediums.  There is a “dual” nature in Magic (as with all art forms) – in some cases, it is merely a commercial venture (consider mass marketed gimmicks that promote “raw” execution rather than diligent research, study and practice), and a card routine such as Paul Curry’s Out of This World or Harry Lorayne’s Out of This Universe (often considered to be the most perfect card routines EVER created).  Although in certain cases artistically motivated work can also be successful commercially, the origin of the inception must be, at the very least, an important consideration when classifying any work as true art (mentioned in an earlier post as “high” art).

That being said, to paraphrase Dave (above) and a judge some time ago in a case of an entirely different nature:  “I’m not sure what it is, but I know what it ain't!”

Personally, I think magic, as practiced by the numerous masters (some well-known and others yet to be discovered), is a highly underrated and often rewarding art form that is incredibly fun and entertaining to view and experience. 

Enough of this heavy, serious stuff (and sorry for this rather long academic post)– now back to practicing! -- johnny

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #15 
If you really want to open a can of worms, try defining "art." There's an audio tape of Joseph Campbell (the mythology expert) talking about Thomas Aquinas' definition and also one from James Joyce. 

For the most part they are defining the "art" due to painters and other such artists. But I think the definitions apply to the performing arts too.

I wrote up some thoughts I had after listening to the Campbell tape about 20 times. Unfortunately I can't find the tape but I did find a transcription of the audio. Reading the transcript isn't nearly as good as hearing Campbell talk, though. If I can find this write-up I'll post it here. 

If I were going to be in a debate about what art is, I'd find it easier to argue against anyone's definition rather than proposing one myself. Try to exclude things from being art and watch how difficult it will be to argue that position. 

Is a pile of dog poop art? Be the devil's advocate and argue that it is. You'll find some excellent points to make your case.

Campbell says that all advertising art is pornographic. He's using a broader definition of "pornographic" here. He means that its purpose is to create desire (not necessarily sexual). Legitimate art for Campbell simply grabs you, creating an ego loss consciousness. It's hard to convey what Campbell means in a few sentences. I'll see if I can find my write-up.

Meanwhile, I hope this stirs the pot a bit.

Mike
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #16 
Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Art is vision; art is inspired. Art is taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. Art is elusive. Art requires hard work, dedication, and determination. Art is a verb; always in flux, never perfect, and never fully finished. Art is a journey and never a destination. Art elicits emotion; art entrances.

Most magicians make no effort to elevate their craft to art. They don't script, they don't block, they don't reconsider, they don't debrief based on feedback. They do tricks, and if they care enough, sometimes they entertain. Nothing wrong with entertaining. Nothing at all. But entertainment ain't art in and of itself.

Many magicians have elevated their craft to art. A brief and woefully incomplete list includes David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Ricky Jay, Max Maven, Penn & Teller, Max Malini, Robert-Houdin, Houdini, Richard Ross, Cardini, Dai Vernon... Others don't appear to have any interest in doing so and it shows. Boy does it show.

Back in the early 90s I purchased and read Michael Ammar's book, The Magic of Michael Ammar. There's a chapter of essays about the psychology of magic, and reading them changed the way I viewed the craft. To that point I did tricks, and never thought beyond the immediate affect of the effect. Ammar inspired me to question my reasons for practicing magic, to examine my performances, to continue learning and growing as a magician, and to never stop thinking about how I might make my performances better. (Haven't read those damn essays in some time; think I need to drag out the book and curl up with a beer later this evening.)

Since then I have worked to be a professional-level magician. Not a working pro, but one who is good enough to be. One who properly and professionally represents the craft of magic and works had to elevate tricks to art, to experiences. I refuse to perform any effect until it is polished to a high shine. Sure, I will try things out on my long-suffering wife and daughter, but that's different. I want to perform magic that is not only entertaining, but artful. Even after decades of trying I am still a long ways off, but I continue to strive and will do so until I am no longer able.

Magic will get more respect from the general public only when more magicians respect their craft and treat it an art form rather than an entertainment or passing interest.  
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #17 
   I've always thought of it/treated it as both an entertainment and an art form.
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #18 
Magic should be fun for everybody, not just the magician, but everybody there at a performance.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #19 

In college I took a fine arts program as my major. 

I was dating this girl Lisa and we took a sculpture class together. Sculpture class was a "studio" class which meant you went to the studio and worked on your projects. In this class we had one final project and a few mini projects just so we'd have something to talk about during the year. 

Every morning I'd pick Lisa up and we'd drive to school. One morning she calls me before I leave and asks, "Did you remember to do a mini sculpture?" 
"Oh Sh....." No I didn't. So I pop into my parent's garage. On his workbench I spy a small vent fan in a wooden frame. I grab it. I go into my magic supplies and grab a thumbtip. I stuff cotton into the tip and paint it red. As an afterthought I add some red paint to the edges of the fan blades. I then break a Q-tip in half and stuff it into the red cotton so that it looks like bone. I grab everything and head to school. 

Once we get to class I set up my sculpture. I lay the thumb right on the frame of the vent fan. Lisa looks at me and says, "Are you serious? This is your sculpture? You really need to take this class seriously if you want to pass." She on the other hand took about a 15" thick piece of tree trunk and carved an inverted pyramid into it.

Come class time, the professor comes around, looks at Lisa's sculpture and asks her to talk about it. "Well, it's all about negative space. The sculpture is the pyramid but since I removed it from the tree trunk, it's visually there, but not physically there. So it begs the question of whether it really exists." The professor looks at it for a couple seconds, nods his head ok. He looks around and asks, "Does anyone else have anything to say about it? No? Okay let's move on." 

And then he gets to mine. He puts his hand under his chin and just looks at it. Lisa pokes me to accent the warning she gave me earlier. The professor then moves around the shop table to take a look at it from another angle, and then another, and then another."

"THIS is brilliant!!!" he says. "This is a narrative sculpture. I look at this and I get a story. I can tell or at least imagine what happened here. In fact, this is so good I think I'm going to have one of my mini sculpture projects next semester to be; create a narrative sculpture. This is fabulous." 

Lisa rolled her eyes and said, "I can't believe it." 

========================

Another time we had a mini sculpture due. Lisa worked on what looked like a baby rattle with a pyramid shape on either end. In between was a square glass tunnel. On pyramid was covered in small bathroom tile. The other was finished differently and inside she had broken glass. 

We get to class and one of the other students forgot we had a mini project due today. He grabs a 2x4 goes into the woodshop and creates a number of blocks. He comes out with a handful and assembles on the workbench top. Lisa says, "I can't believe he thinks that's going to work. Prof Smith is going to see that he put absolutely no time and effort into it. I mean, look at all the work that went into mine." 

So we get to talking about our projects and he asks Lisa, "So tell us about your piece." 
Lisa says, "This piece is all about texture. The tile, the (other finish I forgot), the smooth glass in the middle. It just makes you want to pick it up and when you do, you hear something rattling around inside so you wonder what it is. There's a clear glass tunnel between the two so it makes you want to turn it over so you can see what's going to drop through so you know what's inside." 
Prof: "Okay. Anyone else? No? Let's move on."

So now we get to this kid's project and he's asked to explain it. "This is a kinetic sculpture. It's here now and will only ever be like this now. If I want to move it and take it home and set it up like this, I will never get it exactly like this. It's impossible. It's also very fluid. If I set it up to a shape I like that's great. If I find out I'm bored with it, I can knock it down and rearrange it." 

The professor remarked, "This is really good! You know, if you find out that you no longer like it, you can always just move around a piece or two to tweak it so that you do like it. Good piece." 

Lisa rolled her eyes and said, "I can't believe it. I work so hard on my mini projects spending hours and hours on them and you two slap things together in a few minutes and it's better than mine." 

I looked at her and said, "You just don't understand art." 

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blathermist
Artist Statement

From one of the many online bullshit generators, with a couple of innocuous, incidental and thoroughly artistic additions.  [smile]  [wink]



Proof that AI will soon take over, leaving us homo sapiens with little to do but create art...

Evil One, sounds to me like you need to amend your business card to read: EVIL DAN - ARTIST
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blathermist

Well of course! And where I come from, that’s what "Everything Else" means.



      If you're referring to the 2nd and 3rd posts of this thread - when I typed mine yours wasn't there. Seems we both typed 'em at about the same time. Obvious - I certainly wouldn't have posted mine - which said the same thing - had I seen yours. Where I come from we don't do things like that!!


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #22 
When Picasso was told to bring a mini-sculpture he went into the garage and found an old bicycle.... it didn't take a lot of work but he got an A anyway.

Picasso 2.jpg 

Here's what Picasso said: "Guess how I made the bull's head? One day, in a pile of objects all jumbled up together, I found an old bicycle seat right next to a rusty set of handlebars. In a flash, they joined together in my head. The idea of the Bull's Head came to me before I had a chance to think. All I did was weld them together... [but] if you were only to see the bull's head and not the bicycle seat and handlebars that form it, the sculpture would lose some of its impact."



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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #23 
The word "art" comes from the same root as "artificial" - which just means "constructed" as opposed to "naturally occurring".   The question that always seems to bedevil discussions of magic is whether it is an art or a craft.  The dictionary definitions are similar, but my personal definition is that any particular skill transitions from being a craft to being an art when it becomes a medium for communicating a truth or point of view about the human condition.

Different people perceive significance in different situations.  I am reminded of the old and very contrived joke about the pantomime debate between two scholars of different faiths - each mistakenly interprets the other's gestures within the context of his own religion.  So while the examples I use in the following may not be right for you, I am convinced that each of us can find examples to justify the conclusion.

Some magic routines are exhibitions of craft.  For example, a colour-changing deck with no dramatic presentation says nothing (to me) about what it means to be human.  On the other hand, even the simplest "find the card that was shuffled into the deck" communicates an inherent truth: it is pleasant to find things that are lost.  For me, the former is an example of craft and the latter is an example of art.

A colour-changing deck routine can become a work of art, but it needs to gain a connection - stated or implied - to the experience of being human.  Without that, it can have a huge "Ooooh" - and I love a good colour-changing deck - but it has no "Ahhhh".

Here's an example of a colour-changing deck routine that (to me) is art:  a deck of cards is shown to have red backs.  One card is removed from the deck.  The card undergoes an ordeal (exposed to heat, perhaps) and as a result its back changes to blue.  The card is returned to the deck and through its influence all the backs change to blue.  In this form the routine is an embodiment of the archetypal hero's quest myth that permeates our world.  The magician doesn't need to verbalize any of this.  It's a story we have been telling each other for tens of thousands of years - the audience will recognize it, even if only subconsciously.

So here is my completely honest statement about "Magic": magic is what we make it.  We should make our choices with awareness, and in the knowledge that if we want magic to be an art, that is within our reach.

YMMV.

PS: I started writing this in the early morning and finished it just now, about 14 hours later.  In the meantime, a lot of interesting ideas and stories were added.  I wasn't intentionally ignoring them or responding to them - I had not seen them when I finally hit the "Add Reply" button. 
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magicfish

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Reply with quote  #24 
Any one who wonders weather a magician can be an artist need only watch Cardini, Richard Ross, Lance Burton's Fism act.
True Art of the highest order.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #25 
There are artists who create sculptures in wax who then turn that over to craftsmen in a foundry to cast it into a metal sculpture.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #26 
I agree magicfish.

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously commented about pornography/obscenity something like "I can't define it. But I know it when I see it."

I think that applies to our discussion of "magic as art."

Mike
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Mike Powers

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"Ars est celare artem"


 it is (true) art to conceal art.

M
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #28 
     Nah...just two great minds!![smile]    (I just learned how to do the Smiley. Like I said - "great mind"!)
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #29 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
I agree magicfish.

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously commented about pornography/obscenity something like "I can't define it. But I know it when I see it."

I think that applies to our discussion of "magic as art."

Mike


I wrote something similar earlier in this discussion, even named Richard Ross, among others. Since it has been lost in the shuffle - see what I did there? - I will reiterate: Art, like beauty, is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.

I also stand by my assertion that magic won't be taken more seriously by the general public until it is taken more seriously by magicians. Not speaking of those of us who regularly post her, but rather of those to be found on YouTube openly exposing, terribly teaching, and generally undermining the hours of practice and hard work some of us put into the craft.

We are able to take simple artifices and turn them into mind-boggling miracles - How cool is that? With a mere pocketful of simple techniques and sleights, we seemingly achieve the impossible. Thing is, it is far too easy to learn those simple artifices and present them instead as puzzles. And once the puzzle is solved, the solution is assumed to be universal. Sigh.

  
   
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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #30 
I think art is about the documenting of people, places and things. My thinking is that art has changed because of photography. Also, art is a expression of the unseen like religion or dreams or even psychological states ( I know I am leaving out a lot of stuff ).

Magic technique and function are based on emergence.

Magic, as have been said on this message board is all about self-expression and teaching laypeople a new way of seeing things i.e the teaching of society about new technology & practices and ways of doing things.

Richard Ross took a very simple routine with the linking rings and turned it into a work of art.

Logan,

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #31 
Good points Anthony and Logan Five. If art is anything, it is a form of self expression. Self expression which is likely intended to have an impact on those who see it. The art will be judged on how well it succeeds in this regard.

The variety of ways it can have "impact" are legion i.e. joy, sadness, amazement, amusement etc. There are so many human emotions.

Mike
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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #32 



Classic Richard Ross for you!

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EVILDAN

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan Five
My thinking is that art has changed because of photography.


Art changed in what way?
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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #34 
When I typed that up, I was thinking about paintings & sculptures.

With a photograph it's easier to get the exact image of what the subject represents. Back in the old days, you would have a painting done to document family members and property. There isn't that kind of demand for things like that nowadays. I am not saying there isn't a market or a place for these works of art, it's just the demand isn't there for that.

What do artist's who do sculptures do, they do famous people and family members. Art also started dealing with the supernatural & metaphysical themes like dreams & psychological states.

For our theme with this thread, were talking about magic/sleight of hand/making things vanish/making things appear out of no-where/divining a thought etc. Magic = processes i.e how to achieve certain goals like making cards vanish and such.

Best,



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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #35 
I was wondering what you meant. 

Actually, photography is what brought art to the masses. Prior to photography the only way to get an image of yourself was to commission a painting. The only people that had money for that were the extremely wealthy and the church. Photography in it's infancy with Daguerreotypes were still expensive but technology advanced to where the process was getting cheaper.

The biggest milestone was the Kodak Brownie camera. A buck and you get 99 shots. When you finish taking pictures, you send it in to get developed and you get another Kodak Brownie loaded for another 99 shots. So what did this do? It helped spur the industrial revolution. Let's face it, you didn't NEED a photo of yourself. You couldn't eat it, wear it, kill animals or go fishing with it. But damn it was cool to have and people WANTED it. And then people wanted other stuff. And people MADE other stuff. But to buy this stuff you needed money. So people left the fields, moved to the city and got jobs; mostly manufacturing jobs.

So in essence, photography played a big role in putting art and other "stuff" into the hands of the common people.  

Another tidbit, photography was once "THE STANDARD" for pictures. At the time printers still weren't able to reproduce photographs very well so they had people draw the pictures. I remember seeing a book about National Parks and there was a drawing. Under the drawing was the title of what the scene or place was. Under that was "based on actual photograph." 

I grew up in photography so I didn't see anything "easy" about it. You had to have a good eye to frame the shot. You had to know your camera well enough so that you got the exposure right. You looked for different ways of photographing an object. Instead of walking up to something and taking a picture, what if you walked over there and took the picture, or over there? What if you climbed a tree or went across the street to grab a shot from the window on the second floor? Maybe you lay on the ground and shoot up. Perhaps you want to blow out the details of the pic so you adjust your exposure. These are all artistic decisions made to get the shot that you want. That's why photographers take so many pics. Sometimes just a small tweak one way or the other with any part of the picture taking process can make the difference between a pic and an iconic pic that defines a place, or perhaps a moment in time. 

When computers first came out I felt the same way you seem to feel about photography. Of course, I didn't understand computers. I thought you just tell it what you want and it creates it. Not so. It's just another artistic medium where the output is based on the person's skill with the programs they are using to create this art. One could argue that cutting and splicing film to edit a movie is more artistic than doing it digitially on a computer. But if you take the person who only knows how to cut and splice and take the person who only knows how to edit on a computer and switch their editing tools, I'm pretty sure both will be lost and both will have newfound respect for the other. 

In magic our props, our movement, our set design, our script, our sleights, our personality and anything else that contributes to our routines are the tools we use and manipulate to create our artistic vision. 
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #36 
The nitty-gritty (for me personally that is) - magic almost literally gave me a/saved my life.
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David

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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blathermist

Notwithstanding Dan's interesting comments, it's still just as big a doddle to create art with a camera as it is with a paintbrush.
Paintbrush: Splash any old mix on the canvas, or the wall or the floor and there it is.
Photography: One click, process and no matter what it looks like, it's art.
Sorry, ART.



Unless your point is "anything is art if I say its art" then I would disagree with your view of photography. My wife is a professional photographer and i can assure you she knows more about light, color, shadows,shutter speed, and other things I cant even describe than most people would ever even know there is to learn.  Art in my opinion does require a human element. Good art that is as opposed to "if I say its art then its art".
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David

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Reply with quote  #38 
In my opinion its all human element. I also agree with technical expertise not being an automatic gateway. Shooting pool for example. I can show you geometrically how it's done but to be a good pool player you got know how to put english on the ball(human element). Playing guitar, Yngwie Malmsteen vs Angus Young, a boring technical genius vs simple bone rattling leads you cant get out of your head. Its all human element.
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #39 
I had a lighting teacher that said, "It's not where you put the light, it's where you put the shadows."

He worked as a grip and key grip for movies and commercials. You shine the light where you want, and then you start adding your c-stands with shims to sculpt the lighting to get the look and mood you want.
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Tom Kracker

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Reply with quote  #40 
I think something honest about magic is...  people (spectators) don't know/understand/realize how many hours magicians spend practicing/perfecting/rehearsing our craft before actually performing it.

OF course, there are a few magicians that read it (or watch it) then are out performing it a few minutes later, not really putting time or thought into "how" it should be performed.  I know several routines that I still will not perform because I don't feel I've put enough time into the routine to do them justice, so it just wouldn't be right to be performing them without having put thought into performing them.

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JohnnyNewYork

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Reply with quote  #41 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicTK
I think something honest about magic is...  people (spectators) don't know/understand/realize how many hours magicians spend practicing/perfecting/rehearsing our craft before actually performing it.


MagicTK and others -- this is so very true!  When I initially got involved in magic (relatively recently) I couldn't believe a statement I heard from the GREAT Ricky Jay (paraphrasing:  "I usually take a full year to prepare a routine") or the countless well-known lecturers I've heard say that their routine took 5 (or more) years to fully create.  I'm also reminded of a story told by David Mamet (R. Jay's director) who recalled that Ricky shared one trick with him and told him to practice until he could perform it better than anyone else in the world -- then he'd share another trick with him!  I NOW completely understand these statements and it is clear that these guys approach magic as a TRUE art form.

I am amazed at how long this thread is going (thanks Logan Five for generating some very interesting viewpoints from Forum members)! -- johnny


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #42 
Eugene Burger says that you need to practice a routine 1000 times before you're ready. That's a lot or reps!

Also, it's interesting that the purpose of magic practice is generally to hide what we're doing. We want the spectators to see and believe something that's not true. It take a lot of practice to reach that level of proficiency. 

Magician: Take a card; drop it back in the middle; (PASS); table the deck.

Spectator: I took a card; I put it in the middle; The deck is on the table with my card in the middle.

Magic may be the only art form where the skill is hidden. When we see Stevie Vai shred, his skill is visible, even to non-musicians. When we "see" a perfect pass, it looks like nothing happened.

Mike
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #43 
Mike, good points. Isn't it true, though, that the moves alone are not sufficient? There's audience management, blocking, misdirection, patter... All of those factors should appear fluid and effortless as well. You can practice the Classic Pass 1000 times and still be busted without directing the audience's eyes away from your hands at the critical moment.  
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David

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Reply with quote  #44 
"Magic may be the only art form where the skill is hidden. When we see Stevie Vai shred, his skill is visible, even to non-musicians. When we "see" a perfect pass, it looks like nothing happened."

That is a great statement.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #45 
Hi Anthony,

A successful performance, of course, has the other components you brought up viz. audience management, misdirection etc. And it's true that these need to be effortless too. Part of practice is rehearsal. That's when we act as though there's an audience and add blocking, misdirection, patter et al to the practice session. 

I think the right sequence is 1) Practice the trick i.e. moves, flow of events etc until you can do it in your sleep (this is the 1000 times Eugene is talking about) 2) rehearse i.e. add the other factors of performing into the practice session. 3) Dress rehearsal - that's when you act as though there is a real audience. If you make a mistake you don't start over you deal with things as though you were in a real performance situation. This session should be videoed. 

Dress rehearsal is daunting when done properly i.e. no stopping for any reason. You must act as though it's a real performance and deal with everything that happens.

Dress rehearsal applies more to an act than a trick. But it can be used at the trick level too. Try it some time - no stopping for any reason. And be sure to video.

Mike
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Slowdini

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Reply with quote  #46 
When magic happens, time disappears.
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Tom Kracker

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Reply with quote  #47 
"Dress rehearsal is daunting when done properly i.e. no stopping for any reason. You must act as though it's a real performance and deal with everything that happens."

There are no more real words than this...  That's why we need to have "outs" prepared.  I now must either scrap every routine I know...  or perfect more routines or work on more outs and possible ways to recover.

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #48 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Logan Five
Say something that's 100% honest about the art of Magic. Your post can be long or short.

Lets discuss this..

Logan,


Two things:

1. Magic is fun!

2. Magic is a tremendously creative and versatile art form that allows for the incorporation of many other art forms, disciplines and pursuits within it: Sleight of Hand/Manual Dexterity; Illusion; Comedy; Story Telling; Music; Dance; Acting/Drama; Poetry; Gambling Demonstrations; Psychology; Mathematics; Interactive Communication and Audience Involvement; Inspirational/Motivational Speaking; Spiritual or Religious Teaching (e.g Gospel Magic); Sales & Marketing (e.g Trade Shows); Fortune Telling; Juggling (e.g. at the conclusion of Cups & Balls) - and more...
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #49 
Regarding Magic as an Art Form; Ollie Mealing writes an erudite short essay on the subject in his 'Chat' Issue 8. Found here; https://gumroad.com/olliemealing

He is without doubt one of the brightest lights of the younger generation of magic writers.

He expands on many of the points made above.

Gareth 


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