Anything can be Art, right?

Oh, there is comfort in the idea, to be sure! Why, suddenly the world is full, brimming with beauty! Everything suddenly needs to be examined and appreciated and respected. No one is left out; art is something everyone can do. The responsibilities of the artist fades, and we find ourselves comfortably cradled in the creative powers of Nature.

But what is black without white? If anything can be Art, then suddenly nothing is particularly special because everything is special.

The state of the art world seemed to be splitting into two paths in the galleries I visited:
1. Labor-intensivity. People will be impressed by the grandeur of your devotion and perfectionism.
2. Novelty. People will be impressed by your creative point of view; even if the product is easy to recreate and took no skill whatsoever to make, people must give you the cred because you were the FIRST to do it.

I look at such works of art, and I am indeed impressed, but the effect lasts for mere minutes before fading into the background.

I have also experienced Art that has impressed me, because it has left a lasting impression on me. Not just on me, but by millions of people for centuries. Those pieces are paradoxically simple and complex. They are not didactic, and I cannot sum up their “point” in a sentence or two. They are dynamic to such a degree that I can keep looking back at them and find something new. Scholars continue to examine them and continue to produce viable interpretations of the truths they observe.

I cannot ignore these vastly different experiences. To me, they have molded what I believe firmly (dare I say that I think it fact?) that there must be difference different between:

art: “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power” (that’s the Oxford definition, anyway)
Art: all of the above, AND all elements of the form work together as a whole; those works that seem to transcend all others in some way.

I think there is much to glean from a true work of Art, and therefore there is something to be gained by aiming for Artistic perfection. After all, your much more likely to get somewhere if you know what game you’re playing.

Yes, there is a blurry line between art and Art. Most things do not reach that stage of being wholly Art, but that is not to say that they are worthless. There is still success in finding echos of Art. (Once again with the sport analogy): if you know the name of the game, then you have a much better chance of figuring out what the goal is. And you are bound to play better than that other guy bumbling along on their own, kicking the ball in circles.


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