Thursday, October 11, 2007

What is Art?

Do you really think I can do this subject justice? I'll give it a lame try. I have stumbled across a handful of blogs that try to justify what they do as art & some blogs try to explain why what others create is not art. Seems like a bit of a waste of time when one posts pages and pages, quoting multitudes of people. I think the answer should be short and easy to arrive at.

One blog of interest belongs to Petra Voegtle. There are quite involved discussions of different views. Finally, the example of monkeys with cameras is brought to the front. If a monkey took a photograph, it would not be art. No a random act of photography would not be art. However, an intentional act of photography could be considered art. A person moved and inspired by a certain scene, could capture it with a photograph. Why would this not be considered art? Many arguements seem to point in the direction of complete originality. If we haven't invented something, done something, seen something, that has never been invented, done or seen before, then we cannot create art. I have heard this quote, although I do not know who said it, that "there is nothing new in the world." Then, would that mean that nothing we create is art?

My old college American Heritage dictionary (usually used for pressing leaves), defines art as the "Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature." Pretty broad, huh?

As I see it, art is the creation of a work, whether it is a painting, a quilt (original of course), sculpture, etc. Art is the creation! The finished work is just a piece of work. It sits in a museum, a gallery, a closet. . . until a viewer (the artist, a collector, or an innocent bystander) connects with this piece of work. This relationship once again makes the piece of work art.

Anybody agree?!?


paula said...

Interesting post Kim. Unfortunately I dont have an opinion, I try to think as little as possible about this stuff and leave that to people like Edward Winkleman :)
I like what you say though, it is the creation. Just like music, a note isn't music alone, nor is a blob of paint. Perhaps art is the act of making something from another thing.

Martha Marshall said...

I like the old dictionary definition. It really pretty much stops the controversy in its tracks, doesn't it!

So it takes a human to make art. But wait a minute! What about those bower birds, who decorate their nests all in one color to attract a mate?