Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Art. Is it really? What is? and How? and Why?

What is art? Is it a piece of blue tack stuck on a wall; or an unmade bed; or a cabin transported into a gallery from it's original location? It so happens that all of them are art. Well they were pieces by artists and shown in galleries. Is that then what defines art? Someone who's been labelled an artist? Who gave him/her the label? I like to refer to myself as an artist, and although i have shown work in galleries, and have been referred to as an artist, I know that there are enough people out there who would beg to differ. Yes, of course anyone can stick blue tack on a wall and spend hours getting people to place one piece of blue tack in the "right' position on the wall, or stick an unmade bed into a gallery, or even get people to move a cabin from a beach to a gallery....but there are only a few people doing it... and even if you did, what would be your reason for doing it? Would you have one? Was the cabin still art when the artist saw it on the beach or did it become art only when she transported it into the gallery? The unmade bed was considered beautiful to some and grotesque to others. Well I think the grotesque bit was not the unmade bed but the snot filled pieces of tissue paper scattered all around....and did she take the bed back to sleep on or buy herself another one? If it meant so much to her that she could put it in a gallery then surely she would want it back? But then if she did want it back, it's not really art is it? You have to put art out there and let it grow. How can it grow if you put it right back where it started?! At a family get together once, (I think it was the year Damien Hirst was showing dead cows and was later nominated for the turner prize) my aunt was absolutely appalled, "Picasso must be rolling over in his grave!" she exclaimed. "No it's what he would be doing if he were alive!" she was told. Art moves. It grows. It has to be allowed to breathe. You might disapporove of some art and like others, but you have to stop and understand where the artist is coming from. It's not for you or me to decide what art is....it's not for anybody to decide what makes art.....if it asks a question and gets you to think, even if it gets you to hate it....it's a job accomplished.