I'd Like To Think Of Myself As Sort Of A Philosophical Type.....Mostly Because I Grew Up Eating Playdough
I’m in a Philosophy and Aesthetics class this semester (and apparently the second part isn’t that big of a deal)
My teacher, Professor Turner, is a really good guy. I have thoroughly enjoyed taking this course from him.
I’m not a real big fan of speaking up in classes, I have this fear of being wrong in front of people. (yes terrible, no education, fail to succeed, blah blah blah). Reading aloud in class is one of my all time biggest fears. I stumble over my words like no one’s business.
Anywho. Today we happened upon a noodle-baking topic which I had been discussing with Landon late last year. The all mystifying question of “What is art?”
The good Professor showed us some images to begin and asked us, “Is this art? What about this one? How about this?” The images ranged everywhere from a Da Vinci, to a Warhol (how shocking that we would bring up Warhol in a definition of art session, I don’t think that’s EVER been done before), to a facebook profile picture (which everyone said wasn’t art. Clearly they haven’t been on Rachel’s facebook)
My class basically established that anything with the intention to be art is art.
I seriously hope to GOD this isn’t the case.
Gino would probably ask for his $120,000 back.
Last year I had leaned towards this perspective. Landon once crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it on the ground and said “Is that art?” I told him yes. I believed almost everything could be art. Not all things are art, but everything could be art. I believed that art was the deliberate assigning of value to something.
I have a somewhat different perspective this year. I’m running into the fact that the definition of art is very subjective. Please don’t confuse this with me saying that beauty is subjective. I’m merely trying to propose thoughts on the subject of what art is. I’ve come to find that art relies very heavily on the individual; to the point where the individual trying to participate in, or even express their form of “art” is actually defining the subject all together. I’ll present you with a case. This is one that presented itself in our textbook in class and one which I have interacted with myself. In the Tate Modern (a modern art museum in London) there is a rectangle made of bricks (sorry mom). The bricks are laid flat on the ground in six columns and three rows. There are two layers of bricks. So we basically have a perfect rectangle that is six bricks wide, ten bricks long, and the height of two bricks on top of one another (http://www.tate.org.uk/tateetc/issue7/images/carlandre_equivalentviii.jpg) This is considered a work of art by one of the top modern art galleries in the world. Let’s suppose that down the street at a construction site, a brick layer had constructed the very same composition; however, this man does not intend his art to be considered art. He was merely laying out the bricks before he began his job.
The question asked here is what separates the two?
My initial response was, “Well, their intentions were different,” but I do not believe that this fully encompasses what is being dealt with here.
The men’s intentions were different because they are different men.
There is a reason that the brick layer doesn’t consider his work art. There is also an equal reason why the artist believes his work is art.
The only way we could ever separate to men’s equal piles of bricks is if we make distinctions between the men themselves. If the results are the same, then we cannot weigh the intentions of the men to define end products; we must weigh the men themselves.
If we plan on defining art based on the intentions of the person who created it, then we had better be ready to define it as a subjective practice.
Do I believe that people have DRASTICALLY different views of art? To an extent.
I think we’ve all defined art in similar ways because we’ve been brought up in similar circumstances. People from different contexts believe different things about art. Bring a traditional eastern artist into a modern western art gallery and he’d probably spend an hour and a half trying to figure out where all the art was and why all this crap was neatly hung up on the walls. Giotto Bondone would probably laugh at 90% of the painters today.
The viewing practice of art is just as subjective as the creation of it. My mom and I are on completely different spectrums when it comes to what is art. I believe that this is because we are very different people. We have very different life circumstance.
These are my thoughts. I have not set them in stone yet, and I am even testing them in my own head. (How can something so universally practiced be subjective? Does beauty have some place in all this? If the creation of art is subjective, then is the concept of murder? If the concept of murder is subjective then is morality itself subjective?) I’m sure I’ll have more to come and maybe I’ll post them. Let me know what you people think.
It’s those notions that you don’t really notice at first that are the ones rooted in the deepest parts of your brain. They only surface when truly provoked, but even then you try and disregard their significance.
Everyone else says it’s okay. You see it as the only door. I see it as the initial step onto the boat. All we need now is to pay the ferryman.
Of course that’t not true. That’s not the way it works. Once again, I open my arms to the idea and reminder that I am in fact, a human. It’s critical to have me as my scapegoat. Beautiful. Faithful. Never ceasing to take my blame. I am my own best ally, as well as my own worst enemy. In perfect unison, I take a tumble down the stairs, then safely ride the elevator back to my slate that’s been cleaned.