Why do artists choose to not give titles to things that they do?

Can you imagine if we didn’t title blogs?

As we know, titles are my least favorite thing about the whole blogging process. I write a post and then I spend more time thinking of a title than I did actually writing…

Why do I have trouble with titles?

  1. Any blogging guide out there tells you that a title is what draws you in: It’s a first impression. As I am lousy with first impressions in real life, I don’t know why my blog first impression should be any different.
  2. I rarely know what the point of my posts are…I get a theory and I write- to say there is a main idea floating around in there is madness.
  3. Titles should be clever. While I have clever moments, they don’t seem to happen between my usual blogging hours of 7-9am NYC time.
  4. One of my blogging friends has always been using Day 1, Day 33, etc

But anyway…

Why do you think artists choose to say something is “Untitled”?

FYI- the restaurant at the Whitney used to be called Untitled, but it hasn’t been open the last few times I visited the Whitney so I don’t know if it’s still in business…

If you were to not title something, what would your reasons be?

Discuss:

84 thoughts on “Untitled

  1. I think that I don’t always title mine because I’m not taking myself as seriously as I should. I still have imposter syndrome when it comes to my art.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Well blogs are about words, so a title seems like a must. Visual art is not so much about words, so a title might tend to tilt the viewer in a particular direction and the artist prefers not to do that.

    I like coming up with clever titles, but I don’t really spend a lot of time on it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah! This perfectly explains my years-long holdup, the runner-up to the lonnnnnnngest procrastination of my life! (I should probably use the term “apprehension” rather than “procrastination”…) …anyway, “publishing my blog!”. The problem is, I can never “just make a decision” (I think) because I’m a Visual Artist, Performance Artist, and Writer/Storyteller…. All of my little performers up in my head all want to do their thing at once whenever we get that urge to create (which is happens maybe too frequently). And I’m a perfectionist, honestly trying like hell to get over that, but I re-write every thing 8 billion times. ….sigh.
      I think no title is intriguing.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Apparently, titles are great for search engines -besides people naturally deciding to read, as you’ve pointed out. I only don’t title mine if they’re a quote. I suppose I should title those, since WP assigns it one *technically*.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In the past, I believe I have come up with the most cleverest of titles, but then … nobody reads the post. So, I just put up a boring title indicating what the post is about. Then a few people read. Like my sister. I think the only way it could get worse is if my posts didn’t have a title at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I don’t think all blogs need a title. After you write it, title it if you think of one or don’t . I don’t think it matters. If I get an email from someone I follow I usually read it. So, for me it’s not about a title.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sometimes titles pop out of me first, about the same amount of time I write then try to come up with something or find inspiration from what I wrote. I know I’ve reused titles- simple ones like Memories. I’ve found more than 1 or 2 of those. I think writing needs titles, it would be like trying to sell a book without a title. Why?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think things need titles…but I look at classical music and it’s often Beethoven fifth symphony in e minor (I don’t think that’s a real title I’m just riffing)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I will accept visual art without titles. Let me make my own observations with styles like abstract or surrealism. Music- no. Seems lazy for any composer not to title their work.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have to say I’m always a little impressed and amazed when I hear a piece of music and someone knows which opus and movement it is. I can pick out rhapsody in blue and Clair de lune…and then I’m done naming individual works

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I’m pretty good with Sousa pieces. After 3 kids in band you become very familiar with his music as band directors often rely heavily on Sousa. Classical…not so much

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I don’t have an issue with art having no titles. I don’t imagine any artist sat down to paint with a title in mind, they just decided to paint. If a name or title became clear later – great. But when galleries don’t insist that work must be titled or doesn’t get shown, why bother going through all the bother of dreaming something up?

    In terms of blog posts being titled, well that’s more about SEO and the structure of blogging providers. I can see the draw of simply numbering them. Titling a book is a challenge, I can’t imagine thinking up chapter titles as well – you know, like they used to!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know what I don’t like about chapter titles? They can spoil things. If I’m doing a book club pick I like to look at how many chapters so I can do a strategy as to how much each day…hate when a chapter title gives something away

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve forgotten at times too to title something and then I see it come in via email (I follow myself that way so I can verify the posts transmit properly) and kick myself.

    Titles to me don’t have to be complicated, but rather related to the post in some way. I hate clickbait title but I’ve also done that.

    In the blog world, especially the non-monetized one, titles are just a thing people do, not a whole procedure about what and why and all that…

    But yes, typically I do title my posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve been trying to give my posts a monthly phrase or alliteration, I don’t really know why I just like it. I do think that the titles make a difference in search features, or maybe it’s just certain words.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Sometimes I do struggle with titles. Sometimes I start with a title. Often, I’ll change a title along the way. But oh! the charge I experience when I finally nail one.

    In reference to artists not titling their work, I assume they are leaving all interpretation to the reader/viewer.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. With some art–especially visual arts–a title may give the viewer a glimpse of the artist’s perspective on the subject. To leave it untitled may be the artist’s way of allowing the work to speak for itself, without any preconceived notions that words might have conferred on it. Or maybe they’re just lazy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I like the idea of interpreting it my own way. But I was at an exhibit with my husband and I felt odd saying my favorite was untitled from the second room, third painting from the left, cause so many were untitled

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I have had one or two untitled posts because I forgot to add the one already prepared. Titles practically write themselves for me, not that they are anything special. They pop in my head, and I don’t question their right to be there. The magic that draws people in is using “Logan” at the top.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Headlines are sort of the bane of my existence in my professional life, and blog titles are no different. I have a love/hate relationship with both: love coming up with a clever title, but hate the process of actually coming up with the title. I subscribe to a headline analyzer at work and that does help, as our open rates have climbed about 10 percentage points over the past year.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have the opposite issue. I have a bunch of titles, but sometimes I don’t have the rest of the blog lol In fact, I’m publishing something called “Titles of Blogs I won’t Publish” next week…there’s that synchronicity again.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Coming up with blog titles is my least favorite thing, as well. But from what I read, it’s one of the ways to draw in readers. I used to spend a lot of time fretting over my titles. Trying to be clever sometimes takes too much effort. So I put way less energy into it and hope it somehow works out.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have often wondered why parents name their children the way the do-Zaire-after Countries-after boroughs-Brooklyn-after fruit, Lyme…why not? That is a great blog, also. Or no name. Is there not a song: “Horse with no name?”

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I once read that part of the genius of the original iPod ads with the silhouettes was that when one sees a silhouette, one tends to place themselves in that situation…
    Maybe not having a title gives more options? Or is an alluring mystery to be unlocked? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I so agree with this! Titles can be hard and like you sometimes I spend too much time thinking about it, but like you said its the first thing a person sees. It has to grab their attention so tbat they will hopefully read it. I like my titles to grab the reader’s attention without giving away what happens in the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Because I am a word-focused person, I always look to see if a work of art has a title, but if it doesn’t that’s OK. I think an artist might leave a work untitled so that the viewer has more opportunity to bring themselves to the piece and view it through their own lens. If it is titled, then perhaps the artist wants to you to see it from his or her perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps it is because you have a very orderly mind! I don’t think the artist or the institution would appreciate it, but I feel like you might enjoy arming yourself with a pad of sticky notes and attach one on the wall next to the art with the title you would give.😉

        Liked by 2 people

  20. The only reason I would not title something would be to give the reader the space to completely interpret the poem/post themselves without any help from me. I’m not a fan of this kind of ambiguity, thus would not do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Some pieces don’t really need titles. Like pots. My high school art teacher required us to name everything that we were going to put in the annual art show. My friend had a little pot he was proud of, but it was just a basic clay pot. He had no idea what to call it, so I suggested he name it Bob. So Bob the Pot went into the art show. Photographs tend to be named for what’s in them. Same for landscape paintings and portraits. Not everything needs a clever title. And once you start getting a lot of pieces, whether it’s art or writing, you can start to run out of clever ideas for titles. Then you get titles like “composition 123 in blue”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What’s crushing me is I got this idea from an exhibit I saw but when I jotted the note down I didn’t note it. I need to go back and see what e hi it’s I saw in November. It annoyed me because many of the works were untitled, and for some reason it just got to me. For the most part I’m ok with imagining my own scenarios

      Like

    1. I’ve always accepted the No title thing, because I do like to interpret myself. However, I wonder about an artist who never titles

      Like

  22. A blog or writing indicates ones view and thoughts on a particular subject. Its fair to say that titles give a direction to the reader that what the blog holds within but at the same time they start having their own thoughts and views about that particular topic. But a untitled blog is kind of mystery to the reader, so while going through the blog he/she is engrossed in it and actually gets to feel and understand the author’s words on a whole different level.
    So if giving titles (a tedious work) makes your blog a less existing then what is the point?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I loved the idea. It’s fabulous. Lol I am bad with titles as well. But thanks to my podcast that has a general theme to it. I am now better able to understand and streamline my thought process not only for my posts but also for the title and podcasts

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Something that might prevent me from titling a post would be if I wrote it during the hours that you do. I am not a morning person and a slow started with almost anything, especially as I’ve aged. Even getting on the phone with my BFF at those hours is more often than not more than I can handle, at least before my 2nd cup of coffee which sometimes doesn’t happen until I’ve spent some bleary-eyed time online.

    Liked by 1 person

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