I Want to Fit In

Politically Incorrect Social Studies

There Is No Such Thing As Art

Posted by iwanttofitin on April 3, 2007

I have been struggling recently to define “art.” It happens to be something I was thinking about in a more specific area. My original thinking was that Christian music is awful. That took me to try and figure out what made “good” music, because I couldn’t argue if something was awful if I couldn’t prove it. Well, the problem with that is that there really isn’t anything to define “good” or “bad” music. So then, I tried to determine good music by how it stands the test of time. That doesn’t work either. Some music is more popular than others over time but there are always niche audiences that appreciate certain music that the population as a whole doesn’t. Ok. I was stuck. Where was I supposed to go? You’ve got to go back to the larger picture–art.

What is art? Crap. Wikipedia even states that there is no agreed upon definition of art. The article then goes on to say:

Art is that which is made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind and or spirit.

The definition also states:

Something is not considered ‘art’ when it stimulates only the senses, or only the mind, or when it has a different primary purpose than doing so.

What? So if I create something out of pleasure for myself because I specifically enjoy it creating it, it isn’t art? Accordingly:

Most art that are widely considered to be “masterpieces” in possess these attributes.

From what I understand, art that we consider masterpieces today were done for profit. Their sole purpose was because someone commissioned the artist to paint, sculpt, or compose something specific for pay. I see nothing wrong with that and something can still be art even in a profitable venture.

So we now have a Wikipedia definition of art. Who came up with it? Was it a consensus? It must have been. The same people who hold true to this definition are the same people who pay thousands of dollars for bronze splashes from an acquaintance of mine. These bronze splashes are spills from a real art project using bronze. The bronze drips and hits the ground cooling instantly creating a pretty neat looking “splash.” In reality, it is trash, but “art” connoisseurs think they are art. Whatever, this guy makes more money on the stuff he should be throwing away. It takes no effort to make a mistake, but it’s art.

Even when you look to the Bible for a definition of “art” you will find none. Whether you believe in God or not, the Bible spans thousands of years of history and you don’t have to be a Christian to realize that the historical context of the Bible is supported by outside historical documents. But putting that aside, there is nothing in the Bible that tells us what is good or bad music or what art is. There is beautiful music created and played, but we are never told how it sounds.

Do straight lines, consistency, balance, etc. make a good painting? Ask those who rave about Jackson Pollock. Does a song or music have to have a recognizable rhythm and beat? If so, who says and why? If the Statue of Liberty was given to the U.S. as a gift of friendship between the U.S. and France does that not make it a wonderful piece of art? It’s beautiful but it wasn’t created for the purpose of stimulating the human senses and mind or spirit. The same goes for Mount Rushmore.

The more I try to define art and determine what is considered “good” or “bad” the more confused I get. The closer I think I come to understanding how to determine these things, the less defined the term gets.


One Response to “There Is No Such Thing As Art”

  1. Gary said

    “The most important thing in art is The Frame. For painting: literally; for other arts: figuratively – because, without this humble appliance, you can’t know where The Art stops and The Real World begins. You have to put a “box” around it because otherwise, what is that shit on the wall?

    If John Cage, for instance, says, “I’m putting a contact microphone on my throat, and I’m going to drink carrot juice, and that’s my composition,” then his gurgling qualifies as his composition because he put a frame around it and said so. “Take it or leave it, I now will this to be music.” After that it’s a matter of taste. Without the frame-as-announced, it’s a guy swallowing carrot juice.” – -Frank Zappa


    “The Ultimate Rule out to be: ‘If it sounds GOOD to YOU, it’s bitchen; and if it sound BAD to YOU it’s shitty.’ The more varied your musical experience, the easier it is to define for yourself what you like and what you don’t like. American radio listeners, raised on a diet of ______ (fill in the blank), have experienced a musical universe so small thy cannot begin to know what they like.”

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