Saturday, May 25, 2013

May 25, 2013 What is "art" and Who Says So?"

Fragments G&C  30"x30"  gouache on w/c paper

What is “art” and Who Says So?
As an artist, “art” is the visual product (or not), of the artist’s process.  A visual product might be a painting, drawing, sculpture, photography or something else...or it might just be the thought of the artist....I am thinking now of the conceptual artist.

Art comes from deep inside of the artist, in response to something seen, or felt, or thought., this is called “inspiration.”  It is what moves the artist to create.  Even if, as a viewer we don’t understand it, there is thought behind the work, at least there should be.  It might be abstract thought, and there might not be words to describe it.  And that is why it must be created visually.

I have heard it said, “Without some knowledge of art history, contemporary art cannot be understood.”
  Therefore the average museum-goer, who holds a 19th century idea of what art is, really knows nothing of art.  He might enjoy what he sees, but has no understanding of where it fits in the history of art.  I remember my first art teacher, talking about contemporary art, he said, “Art could be thought of like a Chinese news paper; an uneducated man, a man who does not know Chinese, might stand before the newspaper, he will learn little.  But for an educated man, a man who knows Chinese will learn much from the newspaper.”

Without some prior education of art, most people don’t have the confidence to make judgments about art, and they shouldn’t.   Often what they say, simply tells what they do not know.

If we want to enjoy art, it is probably wise to go to the museum to see what is offered as "art."  At least the people who are choosing, are educated in art and art history.   Pay attention, take a notebook, make notes.  Ask yourself questions, why do I like looking at this work?  What is it about this work, that I do not like?  List the artists you like, later, research the artists you respond to.  As you become familiar with the artists, your list will grow, and  so will your appreciation.  That’s a beginning.

Art is created for you, and your life will be richer for it.

Note:  Recently I received an essay asking "But What is Art?"  I was asked to respond to the essay, I did, but then I contacted the writer, and asked if I might post his essay on my blog.  He didn't want me to, so of course I didn't but since I thought it was an interesting article, and was a good basis for discussion.  I wrote my opinion in a short essay, and would like your response.  What is art for you?

Reply:  For some reason I am not able to reply to your comments.  So I have to put it in the post:  No, Art, an unformed opinion does not make it "art."  One can say what they like or not, but cannot say if it is "art."  I stand by this.  And yes, Sherry, you are an artist, with something very important to say, even if no one reads it.


Art said...

Great question! Art means so many things to so many different people. Each has their own opinion, which may differ from yours (as an artist) or mine (as an art appreciator). What is "right" for one may not be "right" for another.
So who is really right? To me, they are both right as long as the object gives them inspiration and they admire the creativity, marvel at the innovation, and feel positive energy touching their mind, heart, and soul. That is the right art for them.
Okay - that's my opinion - let's hear it from others.
Art Elder

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Very intriguing question , and essay, kiddo. Speaking with no knowledge of art at all, (the kind done with drawing, sketching, charcoal, paints etc.), and broadly (to include all forms of art), I would say art is bringing it forth in whatever way art speaks through you, and simply offering it, hoping that somewhere sometime somehow it provokes a response in SOMEONE. But, even if it doesnt, the fact it exists because of you, as an offering, is enough.

I have always known that writing (my form of art) is a gift, and felt guilty in years when I didnt devote enough time to it. I would write - and in the past often DID write - if (when) not a single soul ever read my words.