2. Part One - Contemporary Art · 2.a. Project 1: Art and Ideas

Exercise 2 – What is Art?

What is Art?

I feel that art is anything that has been made creatively but has to have been made, like a painting or a sculpture. I think other things can be ‘artistic’, like photography, but are not actually art.


How do we know it is art?

I think, for me, I know when something is art when I can see how it’s been made. From individual brush strokes to layers of fabric. When I can break down the creative process is when I know I am looking at a piece of art.


Who decides what is art?

I believe this comes down to the individual. The purpose of art is to effect the mind, whether that is emotionally (Feeling happy or sad by looking at a piece), practically (looking at how something has been made), or any other way that gets you thinking. Art has a very personal effect on people and Art is in the min of the viewer. Not everyone has the same relationship or idea of art.


Is it enough to just display a found object and say ‘This is Art’ because it’s in a gallery?

I find this a difficult question to answer. I don’t think it is. I think this is misleading and is what has made the question ‘what is art?’ the topical discussion point that it is today. Art being a very broad, subjective and personal experience, people would definitely react to a found object being in a gallery, portrayed as art. There was actually a report about something like this not so long ago that I saw online where a man had dropped a pair of glasses on the ground in a Gallery and people started to crowd around and take photos as they thought it was an actual piece. It’s one thing I find fascinating about art on one hand but frustrating on the other.


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

I think he was talking about getting people to use their minds more when it comes to interpreting art. To open their mind, to move away from the idea that art can only be in the form of a painting or sketch, something on canvas, and introduce the idea of installations or sculptures as art.


Is technical skill an important quality in artwork?

I think so yes. Art is a craft and has to be made regardless of the type. All things are made (clothes, buildings etc.) which all involve a level of technical skill.


Do you think art needs to move you emotionally?

Simply put, yes. But it can also move you mentally and it doesn’t have to be positively. Art makes people think and feel. Art should always alter your mental state in one way or another.


Does art have to be unique?

I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘unique’ in the art world. All ideas are ‘stolen’. Art is created through influence of other artists, places and/or events. I think people can create individual pieces but not necessarily unique ones.


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