It is a waste of a piece of felt

I have been sitting at my computer for over two hours, hostage to the purring cat on my lap. A willing hostage: I didn’t want to get up. Ivy has never been much of a lap cat; in the first year I had her she deigned to sit on me a grand total of three times. She’s improving with age (she’ll be two in April!).

So I have been looking at art supplies, and painting tutorials, and the art & websites of people who wrote the better or more interesting tutorials. The “art” debate can be so fascinating, and I found this gem:

My efforts have been designed to make art that is as good as I am capable of making.  Too many so-called “artists” have spent their lives making junk that is passed off as art.  Just because someone has splashed some paint on a piece of canvas doesn’t mean that it is good art, or even art at all.  A found object may indeed be interesting, but it isn’t art.  It is just an interesting object.

A work of art is something produced by a person with the intent of making something that is beautiful, or inspirational, or thought-provoking.  It doesn’t have to look like a photograph at all. Just as a musical composer is free to write music devoid of lyrics, a visual artist is free to create a painting or sculpture devoid of subject matter.  This doesn’t mean, however, that any sound is music, or  that any image or object is art.  A pile of trash is not art.  I don’t care how well-intentioned the displayer of the trash seems to be, or how many museums are willing to display it.  It is not art.  A urinal is not art, despite what the admirers of Duchamp may say.  Even though it has calories in it, road-kill is not food.  It is garbage.  In the same way, a piece of felt hanging on the wall of a museum is not art.  It is a waste of a piece of felt.  It is displayed by people who have neither the ability nor the drive to actually learn to paint or sculpt. It is a fake kind of instant art, requiring neither skill nor talent.  In this world of backwards thinking, many people have been duped into believing that the work of Klee, Duchamp, Kandinsky, et. al., is on a par or even superior to the great works by Michelangelo and Rembrandt.  So if you are believing that paint spilled on a canvas is art, perhaps we can get together sometime and talk about a bridge over the Hudson River that I have for sale.

James Brantley

Ahh. :D In some ways it makes me miss art school; the subject got pretty nasty a couple of times, and watching people go red in the face as they defend the artistic merits of urinals can be absolutely hilarious. [(I agree with this guy, by the way.)] I’ll save my opinions (and the “art vs craft” debate) for another day. Purring cats curb my desire to rant endlessly about elitist prigs who do nothing but chew the cud that are their over-inflated egos.


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