I have been working on my Advanced Writing class, which begins on August 28th, all morning. Perhaps this is why my thoughts have turned to art. The core of the class will be art majors, so I read Art for Dummies as a crash course in “the basics.” That strategy was only semi-successful because the book is more of a reference book than a textbook on art. However, I did come across this definition of art from Hoving, the former curator of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art:
“Art is when anyone in the world takes any sort of material and fashions a statement with it.” Whoa, that blows my mind. It reminds me that like beauty, “[Art] is in the eye of the beholder.” This was brought home to me by a children’s poem, “The Secret of My Art.”
The Secret of My Art
“It’s a beautiful whale,” my teacher declared.
“This drawing will get a gold star!”
“It’s a beautiful whale,” my father declared.”
“Your talent will carry you far!”
“It’s a beautiful whale,” my mother declared.
“What a wonderful artist you are!”
Well, maybe it is a beautiful whale…
But I was trying to draw a guitar.
Only the individual artist knows whether their work of “Art” fits the concept of what is considered to be “Art,” and what the exact definition of that concept is. So then, anything is art? From Hoving’s definition, Yes. Graffiti is art? Give that a definite YES! Meditations in sand, drawn by Tibetan monks, which last a few minutes, then blow away in the wind? Yes. The definition of “Art” changes from generation to generation and from age to age. Art is in flux, constantly changing, constantly being dissembled and reconstructed. As long as artists and the creative urge continue, the “definition” of Art will change.