In a recent dinner event I attended, the question of this blog came up as well as the merit and value of the discussion, what is art? And how do you define it? Something in particular that was mentioned was the idea of waste. That this conversation is a waste if your pursuit in life is not to be an artist, that basically this is a question only artists should be asking.
Well beyond the general realization that that is wrong I would like to express my beliefs why this is an important conversation and then open it up to discussion. First one’s occupation in life should never dictate one’s intellectual passions, that is not to say that we should not strive to make them one in the same but we should not have to. I want to teach right now in my life and engage people in this conversation, I should not have to become an artist to do the latter.
But why have this conversation. I’ll start with what I perceive to be the obvious and go from there. This conversation and one’s approach to art in general is by no means restrained to only art. How we engage this topic and what we learn from that engagement carries over to everything else we do in life. The critical theory approach I have gained from studying literature will help me do what ever it is that I want to do, teach, maybe business or law, but the point is, this approach helps us grow. It allows you to look outside the box for answers, to see the context in which a problem arouses and it helps you bring in resources that might not be so apparent.
But beyond that, art is important to who we are. We have been shaped just as much by it and its history as we have shaped it. Therefore to better understand our history and our current society, we need to be constantly asking ourselves how we approach such topics, what makes us appreciate something more than something else?
Therefore I propose a challenge; I am willing to suggest that this kind of discussion leads to a better understanding of art and its history as well as its context in a larger societal history than any type of education one could receive from an art school. Basically what I am saying is that understanding why something is art is more important than understanding why something is Renaissance art.
Please continue this discussion, the world needs us to.
So discuss art, discuss it at dinner, in class, at work, at the movies, challenge our culture, challenge our leaders, let us all share our opinions. We are ALL qualified.