We started off talking about a horrendous case where an 11-year-old-boy was turned into a sex slave to six other boys aged 12-16. We tried to understand the seemingly increasing numbers of these cases, so we discussed education and parental ability to control over internet/TV. This led us to discuss the effectiveness of tough laws as a deterrent effect, which led us in turn to Singapore and corporeal punishment.
And so the conversation continued with different views expressed until we reached the subject of art, and more specifically - what is art?
Before I continue telling the rest of the discussion and what we finally agreed on, or what I agreed on, I want to digress, because not too long ago in my post about my
poet friends we started discussing what is art right here.
Pat Kirby said:
I respect any art form (except maybe freaky modern art where a guy puts a toilet seat in a corner and calls it Man's Frustration or something equally un-pithy).In response to my question if the example she gave was for real, she replied:
I think I saw the toilet seat thing, looong ago, in Newsweek article about an art exhibition. I think art is the manipulation of one thing into...I dunno, something else. The idea that someone can "artfully" (ha) array toilets or other furnishings, affix some philosophical significance to the arrangement and call it art...offends me.
Lee Carlon also had something to say about the subject (in reply to my complaint about extreme abstract art):
As for the art thing, it's how you arrange the triangle and the square in relation to each other that counts.
Done right, and with the correct understanding of colour, light, shading and composition, a simple triangle and a square could represent man's continuing struggle to dominate his environment and attempts to come to terms with his own human-ness, coupled with the...
No I'm sorry, you're right. It's nonsense.
There were other great comments there especially from Eric.
I agreed with what was said above; I simply refuse to accept everything and anything that someone calls art as art.
And so back to my great conversation from yesterday. We mentioned how fashion can affect art or what is perceived as art and aesthetics. We mentioned how skillful street portrait painters aren't necessarily artists despite their high skill level. We mentioned how the context matters - Once "something" is in a museum it becomes art.
We tried to get to a definition we were comfortable with and here is what we agreed on:
Art is something made by a human with intent behind it and that follows certain rules of aesthetics. It has to be combine skill and creativity.
Two things follow from this:
1) What is aesthetics?
2) A skillful artist who knows the rules can break them and create something very artistic. In the manner of Picasso's examinations of paintings, or a good author who breaks grammar rules intentionally.
I realize I'm opening a can of worms here, but - opinions?
Categories: writing, art