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in a web of glass, pinned to the edges of vision

brief public opinion poll

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

brief public opinion poll

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mucha mosaic
I want this. No, seriously. I DO want it. I want it in a large jar, on the mantelpiece in my home.
What. I really do.
Okay, so it's not a REAL pickled fetal dragon. But it's an impressively proper-looking FAKE pickled fetal dragon. Is a fake dragon fetus preserved in some sort of pickling solution art? If yes, why? If no, why not?
  • What I find particularly interesting about it is the suggestion that dragons give live birth. Critters that come from eggs don't have umbilical cords, to the best of my knowledge.
    • Re:

      I'm quite glad that I'm not the only person who thought this. =)
    • Re:

      Well, even some lizards that actually exist -- many anguinomorphs, some skinks, and apparently some egg-laying species adapted to cold climates -- do bear live young, so there would be a placenta and umbilicus.
      • Re:

        This didn't sound right to me - I thought only mammals had true placentas - so I went looking.

        From zoo.org:


        About 50% of skink species lay eggs; the others bear live young. The majority of those that bear live young carry eggs internally which are hatched just before the young leave their mother’s body. Blue-tongued skinks carry shell-less membrane-enclosed “egg” sacs internally, which rupture and “hatch” as the sacs are expelled from the mother’s body. Blue-tongued skinks, however, have a more elaborate placenta-like structure which supplies the developing embryos with oxygen and carries away carbon dioxide. The embryos of all reptiles derive their sustenance from the yolks of their eggs or sacs, whether they are born live or hatch from eggs.

        Very interesting! You caused me to learn something today.
  • I'll fight you for it.
  • I don't know much about art...

    But I know what I like. I'd say yes, it is art, given that I've seen things-in-pickling-jars in art museums before, and been told that yes indeed, that was art.

    Besides, it's gorgeous. I want one. Or a fetal manticore. (Mantikitten?)
    • Re: I don't know much about art...


      ...And yes. I need it. I would put it on my desk and call it Fifinella.
  • Oh man...that's spectacular.

    Is a fake dragon fetus preserved in some sort of pickling solution art?

    Hrm... I don't know, I think "art" has a different definition for everyone and I'm okay with that. For me, it has to do with intent. If someone made something like that as a one-of-a-kind item to be used as decoration, then I would probably consider it art. If it was mass-produced then I wouldn't. However, since it's suspected the dragon was made by scientists in an attempt to dupe other scientists, I would probably consider it an antique/relic which, to me, is not the same as art. Still, as you said, it would make a hell of a decoration for a mantelpiece.

    • Art, or artifice? Are they exclusive?

      I went and dredged up the Merriam-Webster's def. of 'art', and here's what it offered:

      1 : skill acquired by experience, study, or observation (the art of making friends) nope
      2 a : a branch of learning: (1) : one of the humanities (2) plural : LIBERAL ARTS b archaic : LEARNING, SCHOLARSHIP Nope
      3 : an occupation requiring knowledge or skill (the art of organ building) Nope. Though organs were built.
      4 a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced b (1) : FINE ARTS (2) : one of the fine arts (3) : a graphic art Maybe...
      5 a archaic : a skillful plan b : the quality or state of being artful Nah, not really
      6 : decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter Nope

      Synonyms: ART, SKILL, CUNNING, ARTIFICE, CRAFT mean the faculty of executing well what one has devised. ART implies a personal, unanalyzable creative power (the art of choosing the right word). SKILL stresses technical knowledge and proficiency (the skill of a glassblower). CUNNING suggests ingenuity and subtlety in devising, inventing, or executing . ARTIFICE suggests technical skill especially in imitating things in nature (believed realism in film could be achieved only by artifice). CRAFT may imply expertness in workmanship (the craft of a master goldsmith).

      I think artifice is definitely here: I'm debating about that unanalyzable personal creative power.
      • Re: Art, or artifice? Are they exclusive?

        Does intent matter, at this point? It's likely that whoever created the pickled dragon fetus intended for it to be part of a hoax, and therefore more properly an artifact, rather than art.

        Since then, though, its context has changed. Even if it hadn't been created as art, if one of us were to put it on display, say, on a desktop, it would be as an objêt d'art, and not as an artifact. It has become art, in much the same way that the bicycle seat and handlebars that Picasso pointed out resembled a bull's head became art.

        At this point, the creator's intent has been made irrelevant by the eyes of the beholders.
  • Why does it matter if it's art? It's fucking cool.
    • Re:

      because I'm curious about what makes art art, today.
      • Re:

        An object is art if a) it is created and b) it has the ability to be the object of aesthetic appreciation independent of functionality. Art does not have to be deliberately art, but it must be deliberate; it cannot be naturally occurring.

        Though they may be beautiful, a waterfall, the curve of an arched back, and clay are not art. A photograph of a waterfall, a drawing of the person arching, and a sculpture are. Other things that could be considered art, as an example: cars, wiring diagrammes, computer programming code, hair styles, faucets.

        As a side note, I do not consider pornography for pornography's sake art, unless it has an aesthetism that can be separated from its function (namely its ability to arouse sexual desire). So Throbbing Anal Sluts 16 would probably not be art, but, say, The Red Shoe Diaries or Bound would.
  • I'd say this is a cross between taxidermy, morticianry, and fantasy. Whether these fall under your 4a, and by extension whether this is a 'work so produced', is up to your hair splitters - if not, it's definitely the work of a master craftsman.

    I think the story behind this particular piece is of interest, even if it's not true. It illuminates a greater social truth - fin de siecle scientific rivalry between Germany and the UK - and that's the purpose of art, right, to illuminate truths? So to me, it's art.
  • If yes, why?

    because it was created by somebody, and it looks frikkin' cool.

  • Wow not only do we now have proof that dragons have existed. We now know from looking at the umbilical cord that gives live birth. So it must either have hair and mammary gland or is an evolutionary link between reptiles and mammals. Right now I am really trying to think of any other creature that has a placenta that is not a mammal. Which mean if dragons are a mammal it is more advanced then the Kangaroo or the platypus.
    No wonder everyone rejected this.
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