What is art? Is this the ultimate rhetorical question? Who decides whether or not something qualifies as “art”? Is one man’s art another man’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich ? Irving Penn said that a piece of cake could be art and he sold photographs of cigarette butts found on the street as art. Warhol said art was convincing the world they needed something when, in fact, they did not. Avedon thought all art was about control, Degas said art was what you made others see, and Brassai saw it as raising other people’s levels of awareness. Frank Zappa said that art was making something out of nothing and selling it. A blue square with a yellow circle within it is exhibited as “conceptual” art. Richard Prince appropriated another photographer’s image from a Marlboro cigarette ad and sold it for a million dollars! What the F*#k??
Many people believe that art is not a thing, and it is not your job; it is a way of life. Others feel that their art is their entire life. Is art what is new – as in vision, point of view, or voice? Is art what is old but is now appreciated? Is all art about love [Hockney]? Can it embody hatred, prejudice, propaganda? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is art in the heart and mind? Is pornography art ? Is nudity?
So, what is art? Everyone seems to have an opinion but definitions are all over the place. Maybe art cannot be defined? Maybe it is an illusion! I don’t know. Personally, I FEEL something when I see art, or create my own art. It is a “rush”, like all of a sudden there is carbonation in my veins, accompanied by a myriad of emotions [shock, awe, horror, envy …]. I respond, my body and mind react, question, scrutinize. Sometimes I am changed by art and some art I remember. Picasso said that “art is art, and everything else is everything else”. I like that. He also said that art is a lie that makes us realize the truth. Now I am confused again.
What is art for you? How do you decide? How can you create it if you don’t know what it is ?
“What is the difference between art and a twinkie?” … Blue Man Group
“Fuck art, let’s dance.” … Lawrence Ferlinghetti