Art in America (Part One)
This post is not quantum physics but art one of my many other interests. Sometimes I add a comment to someone else’s post and it becomes a post. This is one of those situations:
As an artist I must say that art is anything that moves you. Makes you think. Makes you feel good. Challenges conventional wisdom or even celebrates conventional wisdom. Art is a wide-open area of conversation or a narrow-minded point of view. Aesthetics are facets or qualities of anything be it a painting, a building or a car that appeals to a group of people. Aesthetics tends to be dictated by a group while art is personal. It’s a feeling that people may share but is not necessarily the same for each person. Aesthetics seems to have a basis in science while art is more spiritual, soulful.
As a former employee of a Modern Art magazine I saw a lot (a lot) of crap. Lots of lazy art that I felt let the artist off the hook too easily. The stereotypical artist who makes art that "nobody understands except real artists and critics" is alive and well. Believe me, if it offended it was all the more better. Some people have a point of view that art is anything that is against the grain or that puts people off because they believe that that is the equivalent of making you "think."
I don't agree.
The wholesale desecration of someone else's symbols for no other reason than personal revenge is NOT making a person think. It's mudslinging of the worst kind. You can put someone else's symbols into your paintings or sculpture or movie or anything else and comment or criticize it, but to desecrate? That crosses lines set down by society. Art is not war. Art is not politics. Art is Art. Art is in itself a whole thing. It can say anything you want but when used as a weapon it ceases to be art and becomes something else. It becomes personal journal or a diary. It becomes a political campaign. And that is not to say that those things in themselves cannot be art but it’s the context that counts.
For example, Dada is an art movement that more than being art in itself is more art commentary. Not criticism but commentary. It says, this is art and it is art because I created it with the same process that a sculpture uses but my art happens to be an everyday object. A fur teacup. A bicycle wheel on a stool. A toilet bowl. Granted when you see those things you don’t say, “Art!” but at the time, in the context that it was presented, it was art. It may not have been your kind or art or art that appealed to the masses or even art that many people “got” without an explanation of the intent of the artist but it was art. That was the end of it. Those artists expanded the tools and artist can use. It expanded the realm of possibility in what we call art. (Art is whatever we decide.) But it was not scandalous in and of itself. Perhaps people thought it scandal to consider that thing art but it was not offended a believe system shared by millions. It was not propaganda being held up as art.
That’s the difference that most people don’t get. A lot of people look at some art and say, “My kid can do that.” But their kid did not do it. Their kid couldn’t conceive of it and reproduce it with intent. And their kid could not explain it to others.
(To Be Continued)
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Art in America (Part One)