Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is it art?

Another battle that wages is what makes something art. Does there have to be intent on the part of the maker? Two recent newspaper items got me thinking about this again. The first is a very tongue in cheek description of a not quite 2 year old child's rendition of her Aunt Bev: "Clare, a...Spokane modern art stylist, employed bold brush strokes to produce an abstract expressionist portrait..."

The other was an article on how to decorating on a budget, primarily with second hand goods. But one of the tips was to fill your walls with your kids' drawings, nicely framed and passing as abstract art. I actually know someone who did this, and frankly, if she had not told me they were the carefree splashes of a toddler let loose with paints and brush, I'd been none the wiser.

Is her son, or your Clare above, budding artists? Perhaps. Is what they are producing right now art? I'm inclined to say no. But then again, I've made what I consider art from happy accidents I had little to do with, except to recognize a good thing when I see it.

What do you think?


Shirley Goodwin said...

Such a perennial problem, this one of what to call ourselves. I tend more to Fiber Artist but I DO vary it depending on who I talk to. It's a sad but undeniable fact that fabric, no matter what you do to it, just doesn't have the cachet and respect that paint on canvas does. Don't ask me why!

Come and stay when you come to New Zealand!

Ahava Hopps Brooke said...

Well, from the Marcel Duchamp tradition, art is whatever the artist says it is. Kid art is kid art.

Adult art - well, if an artist (and I accept a self-definition of artist here) says it's art - that's good enough for me. Whether it's "good" art or not is another question.

As far as living with art, for me art that I want to live with and hang on my walls has to have some kind of emotional connection for me. It's almost a spiritual connection. Whether it's from a famous artists or a newphew really doesn't matter too much to me.

Although I do feel a more powerful connection to my favorite "famous" artists. I.E., Rauschenberg and Cornell.

Pat said...

OK. I'll bite. Actually, I've been thinking about it for several hours.

As I see it.....
"Art" is a word, and words are human constructs. To me, it is a word that labels things, puts them into categories or at least on a continuum. I suppose if labeling and categorizing is important, then determining what is "art" and what is not is also important.

In a world that necessarily requires a fair amount of labeling, categorizing, and drawing boundaries, I can see where at times it is important to have a consensus as to what might be "art" and what is not.

However, if art is process, then in the world that revolves around a two year old, what was produced was art.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments - you've given me some new things to consider.

Ahava - I've been meaning to put together a post on what we hang on our walls and why. Your mention of living with art has reminded me I must get to it. I too need an emotional connection to what I end up viewing day after day.