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What is ART ? - There's something about Mary...

Jul. 14th, 2011 03:25 pm What is ART ?

Paintings are art.  Are all paintings art?

What music is art, and what isn't?

Is TV art?

Sculpture is art?  Is an airfix model aeroplane art? Stuart's certainly are, in my opinion.

Perhaps anything with a creative element can be art?

Is the definition dependent on the viewer or the creator, or both?

Does something become art as soon as someone perceives it as art.  Or do a certain number of people have to see it as art before we can say it is?

Or does something become art as soon as its creator says they have created it as an artistic endeavour?

Must art contain craft / skill?  What if I like a pattern on a piece of paper, and consider it art, but then find it was an accidental creation produced with no effort or craft at all (perhaps someone dropped a pot of paint and the splash happened to produce a nice shape - does it lose its value as art because of the lack of skill in its creation?  

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - I think perhaps art is too.  But then, I also believe that in order to be called 'art' there must have been at least an element of creativity, or skill, or something gone into its production.
Your thoughts?  If you feel so inclined...

5 comments - Leave a commentPrevious Entry Share Next Entry


Date:July 14th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
What happened to the splash of paint in the time between the pot being dropped and it being in your posession and appreciated as art? Does recognizing the potential of something count as creative input?

I don't think something has to be art to be beautiful or worthwhile. Nor does it have to be beautiful to be art.

I think in schools they tend to distinguish between 'art' and 'just pretty' by 'Is this intended to make people think?' - but then, that would disqualify a lot of things that are commonly regarded as art. And certainly a lot of writers have noted that they weren't aware of what they meant with what they wrote before some teacher or student or analyst told them.

It does seem to me that 'society' or a relevant subset of it decides whether something is art. More or less by consensus, maybe.
Date:July 14th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
It's art as soon as one person says it is. At least art for them, not necessarily art for anyone else.
Entirely subjective. Like religion. To one person, a statue on the mantle is a household god. To another person, it's a carved rock. They are both right.
Date:July 14th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
Frank Zappa once said that the most important thing about art is the frame - the declared line where the outside world ends and the art begins. The paint spillage may have a pleasing quality that catches the eye but it's still just a paint spillage. But if you take the time to recognise it as pleasing, and then put a frame around it so that everyone else can be moved by it as you were, then you have made it into art. (I believe the term that applies in such a case would be "found art".)

Which is fair enough as a definition of the creative endeavour. Where it falls short is in distinguishing between art and mere entertainment.

One way of thinking about that distinction might be that entertainment is a journey from, whereas art is a journey towards. Art should strive to take you to a destination, somewhere you've never been, show you things you've never seen, so you come back a little different from when you left. Entertainment is like going out for the sake of getting out of the house.

Beyond that I think I have only questions. Can entertainment be art, can art be entertaining? Can craft elevate something conceived as pure entertainment to the status of art? Is then the art in the destination or the journey; the story or the telling?
Date:July 15th, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
I think something is art if its creator, or its "audience", says it's art. A child's scribbled crayon drawing of grinning stick figures is art, because the child and Mom both say so. Jackson Pollock created his paintings by dripping and splattering paint; although this was controversial at the time, he is now generally considered to have been an artist.

Popular entertainment is art. We think of Shakespeare and Dickens as "literature", but their works were the equivalent of today's TV sitcoms and dramas. A lot of "classical" music is the pop music of 200 years ago. So, yes, television, movies, radio, contemporary music styles - they're all art.

Sculpture is art; even a model airplane built from a kit is art, if the person who built it took pains to make it both accurate and personally meaningful. Fashion design is art. Heck, website design is art! Cooking can be art, whether because of beautiful presentation, or because of creative deliciousness, or both.

One word of caution: things are art even if you don't personally like them. I go out of my way to avoid hip-hop music, landscape paintings, and almost all television... but they're still art, they're just "art I don't like".

I also happen to consider really well-designed technology to be art - anything from a fine car, to an easy-to-work-with computer program, to an especially effective popcorn popper, to wind-powered generators...

Date:July 16th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)

"Art" can be viewed from two perspectives; those that create it and those who experience it in various forms.

I don't consider myself to be artistic, but some of what I do may be considered art, or artistic in nature; it's certainly what I aspire towards in at least one discipline and what I see in others' similar work is definitely artistic, IMO.