Thursday, June 18, 2009

A question for you

This wasn't actually part of my planned interaction posts (until now!) It's just something I've been turning over in my mind for several months and I would love to hear your opinions.

Some of you may know that I am currently taking a course in Graphic Design. I love it. It's been a great experience because I'm learning new methods, new techniques and new ways of generating ideas. But there's one thing which I can't quite figure out in my mind.

I have a question.

What is art?

What do you have to achieve in a piece of artwork or design before it is considered art? Can I decide what is art and what isn't? Is art only produced by professionals? Is everything created art? Does art have to be aesthetically pleasing?

Sorry, that was more than one question. But you understand what I'm getting at?

The Oxford English dictionary defines art as the following:
1 the expression of creative skill through a visual medium such as painting or sculpture. 2 the product of such a process; paintings, drawings, and sculpture collectively. 3 (the arts) the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, and drama. 4 (arts) subjects of study primarily concerned with human culture (as contrasted with scientific or technical subjects). 5 a skill: the art of conversation.
But that, in my mind, just raises further questions. Is everything that is created through a visual medium to be considered art? And is it really only visual media that can be considered art?

One final question: does it matter?

Does it matter what people choose to consider as art? How do you feel about conceptual artists or those who stick found objects in a glass box and then display them in a museum under some profound title?

Hopefully that's given you something to chew over.

But please let me know your thoughts. I can't wait to hear what you have to say! This issue has been confuddling me for some me!


Neil said...

Art is whatever you want it to be. (That's both a bit profound and a bit flippant.)

I don't think it matters, although when a self-serving, elite clique can define it in any way they want and then spend buckets of public money on it, I do mind. If private collectors want to buy nonsense, that's their problem, but public money ("my" money) should be spent on things that are aesthetically pleasing.

As humans, we seem to have a constant desire to classify things - and the Lord must have put it there, as one of the first things Adam was asked to do was to name the animals. Whether or not something is "art" is merely a matter of classification, not something inherent in the object or artifact itself.

Classifications serve purposes - what purpose does classifying a cow in formaldehyde as "art" serve?

The OED definition (classification?) is interesting. The first definition could include building and all sorts. So you have to ask, is fine art different to "general" art? (And does it matter?)

In the end, I see art as some kind of creative self-expression in any medium, but it should aim to be something that is pleasing to the eye (ear...), has some kind of integrity and which helps us to aspire to things which are moral and good.

Anonymous said...

For me, art is a way to express oneself, through whatever way you please. Also, I think that what is considered art, well, it's a matter of opinion. It's a subjective way of seeing things. There was a museum somewhere that one of its works of art was a bag of garbage! So what it has to achieve to be considered art is also a matter of opinion.
This is what I think. =)