A Facebook friend brought up a thorny subject the other day, and I thought I would start a discussion here about it. In effect his questions fell into the subject of “What Is Art?” A question that is probably as old as art itself.
The nuance of the question is when does art become less or more than itself. When does commercialization sap it of its genius and when does genius or experimentation transform it to something other than art?
Put another way:
Why is the work of Thomas Kinkade not considered art? One friend compared his work to dollar store Christmas ornaments (ouch). Mind you it looked lovely in the Disney movies, but something happened when these works started being sold as collectors items and people actually started to collect them. We all know how that ended.
Why does the work of Robert Rauschenberg (white painting for instance) create such controversy? As one blogger explains “Rauschenberg painted the White Painting as an intentional attempt to see how much content he could strip out of a painting and still have it have meaning.” this sense of “meaning” though, is it art? If it is, is it visual art or experimental art? Is the use of a canvas meaningful or incidental? Is it, in other words a “painting”?
We could discuss of course people like Bob Ross and other TV follow along individuals. We can also discuss the handful of method artists out of the mountain area in the USA who all seem to have breath taking works until you see enough of them and start realizing that you can’t tell one from the other because they all follow the same “process”.
Or we can stay away from the negatives and discuss what makes art art for you. After all, that is what matters, the rest lives around the edges and behind the canvas.
I’m opening this up both here and on Facebook, so take a stab and please… why don’t you let us know how you really feel