What is Art? Who defines it?

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Uncategorized

What pops into your head when someone says the word?

For me, long hallways of grandiose canvases of paint and golden frames, men in monocles and women in cocktail dresses and feather hats, all sipping on wine while smiling and nodding at the pictures on the walls.

Sounds crass, but I guess my subconscious has fallen for the aristocratic importance society has associated with Art.

There’s a whole myriad of definitions for the word, but all of them agree on one thing: it’s an expression of thoughts.

Art is a thought-experiment and so I personally don’t believe there are any rules when it comes to the act of conveying thoughts.
Some beg to differ. Why, without rules, people could paint total rubbish and call it Art!
But what is rubbish then?
This, looks like nothing much to me. Something I’ve seen even a 7 year old could get done. Better.
I’d go so far as to call it utterly mediocre.
But oh, look at the tag, turns out it’s a self-portrait by Picasso himself.
Oopsie. Foot in mouth?

I don’t know. Who judges?
Another thing that confuses me is why everyone assumes today that all Art is autobiographical.
I posted something on Facebook today that ended with:

It’s only ’cause I think of you
As Love and how it fades

And I got an instant shot of messages and such asking me what was wrong!
Suddenly, everyone wants to know if I’m ok and if I got dumped or something.
When in fact, I doubt I’ve ever even been in love with anything (other than my own reflection in the mirror :P) let alone had my heart broken.

Where did the art of story telling go? Surely we’re not so vain as to assume that one is incapable of telling a story without it always being about themselves?

Is there good art and bad art? Refined art and rubbish?
I, personally, don’t think so, by the definition that art is a personal expression of thoughts.
Some people may understand a piece of art, and some people may not. Some might connect with it, some not at all- isn’t it vain, again, to assume something is nothing much for the mere reason that it doesn’t resonate with you?

Then what separates great artists from the not so great ones?
The popular ones with the unknowns?
Luck? Money? Or just that your art is less cryptic to the masses than the next man’s?

  1. Azrael says:

    I also dont know what it is, but the more uglier it is, the more expensive :PThe current highest price paid for a painting is USD 150 million, for a Jackson Pollock. It's basically paint drippings. A house painter can do a better job without even realizing it :PI've seen 200 times better stuff form the roadside artists near the Viahara Maha Devi Park.I don't get their logic for what makes a artist or the work famous.Check out the linkshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._5,_1948http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_paintings

  2. PseudoRandom says:

    Art, music, literature, beauty…all are in the eye of the beholder :-). The problem arises when people try and label things or when they develop a superiority complex based on their preferences.I've seen some of Picasso's older stuff…there are some impressionist paintings he's done which are nothing like what he's more 'famous' for. They're not famous because they're not different. I for one love some of Rothko's work…yeah ok it's very simplistic, but I find the use of colour and contrast very interesting.As for the interpretation of literature…that's why I don't put anything of any abstract artistic value on Facebook 😛 When I was little, I wrote a poem about a paedophile…someone saw it and asked my mother if I'd been molested. I mean what the…?I think to learn to appreciate abstract art, you really have to immerse yourself in the subject. Even if you start off sceptical, before long you'll find yourself fascinated by at least one work, and your argument against 'modern art' will crumble. Admittedly that's easier in this part of the world, what with the Tate Modern in London and the MoMA in New York (and many others, presumably)…the Eastern world is far less embracing of individualism.

  3. Jack Point says:

    I think you are asking the right question.There may be a few answers here:http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/artartists/artartists.htmlbut keep asking yourself that question and look everywhere for the answer.

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