Part 1. Project 1. Exercise 2: What is Art?

This exercise presents me with a list of questions which I am to spend approximately 15 minutes answering.

What is art?

In my opinion, art in general is anything which draws you in, absorbs you, makes you want to keep studying it. For example the beauty in a sunset is a sensation of nature, the photograph or painting which can capture that sight, that is art.

How do we know it is art?

I classify art as a physical piece intended to capture the eye which has taken some recognisable artistic skill to create.

Often people will only classify something as art if it is within a gallery, being presented as art ie within a frame or on a plinth.

Who decides what is art?

To get something into the public eye or into a gallery to be recognised as art in the traditional sense then it must be seen by curators, collectors, critics, experts etc and judged to be art.

On a personal level someone looking at an object or scene will choose for themselves what they perceive art to be.

Is it enough just to display a found object and say ‘this is art’ because it’s in an art gallery?

For me, no. I do not think putting a found object into an art gallery makes it art. I also did not think that Tracey Emins ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept With’ was art. I thought it was a clever play on words, but it isn’t art.

Duchamp said he wanted “to put the art back in the service of the mind”. What do you think he meant by this?

I think he meant that people weren’t looking for art, they weren’t finding it in everyday life, he wanted to address that. If you are routinely presented with gilt framed paintings by old masters and told that ‘this is art’ then you become reliant on having this spoon fed to you. In reality there is beauty in the everyday, anything can provoke appreciation in the right context or frame of mind if you are receptive to it. However I still maintain the opinion that there is a difference between people being more aware of what is around them, for example the likes of Duchamps urinal, and classifying something as art.

Is technical skill an important quality in an artwork?

Yes. If an artwork does not contain an element of skill then it has no effect on me at all. It needs to be something that I cannot do for myself, ideally it needs to make me go nose-to-canvas trying to figure out how they managed to produce such an image before standing back and absorbing the image properly.

Do you think art needs to move you emotionally?

No. If it doesn’t move me then it probably will move someone else instead. Art is unique for each individual that looks at it.

Does art have to be unique?

Not for me. The way each artist renders the same scene will be completely different. It is in their depiction that the uniqueness of their approach will manifest itself, and from that there will be different reactions from the viewer.

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