What Is Art?

Before diving into today’s topic in the blogosphere, I’d like to apologize for the recent lack of photographic documentation. I haven’t been out sight-seeing at all, and after four months of being a Torontonian, I feel like I’ve already been here for years, and not every little thing hits me as visually striking anymore.

Anyways, moving on, today was the second day of class during which we talked about “what is art“? Yes, the annoying jackpot question. I never knew a lot about art, so I had the general ideas: painting, classic Renaissance in Western Europe, and then those strange contemporary arts that seemingly the more confusing and uninterpretable, the more appreciated. I didn’t really think about “low class” or “high class” status in art, but I never understood why there were pieces such as a piece of poop on a pedestal that sold for millions of dollars.

Today (and yesterday) I learned that this came first from an artist named Marcel DuChamp, a French surrealist artist whose work was often associated with the Dada movement (or which I am still unclear to). He basically took a standard Bedfordshire model urinal, put it on a wall, and said

this is art because I call it art”. – Marcel DuChamp. FOUNTAIN, 1917

It was an extremely radical idea in that time period, and was initially rejected and hidden away, eventually tossed out; but years later, in 1950, the first reproduction of Fountain was made in New York. Two more pieces were then made and exhibited, and the definition of art changed completely today.

I think this specific process of the emergence of contemporary art is quite amazing. Unfortunately, I still don’t know enough to enjoy or give appreciation to this type of work, but it’s a start.

My professor – a wordy but wonderful speaker, showed this claymation about “what is art?” I find it to be very amusing, humorous, and interesting! Please give it an eye!

What do you think art is? Leave your thoughts below!


One thought on “What Is Art?

  1. They covered this topic in my tutorial too! I just finished watching that claymation and I really enjoyed it 🙂

    Your post brings to mind another piece by Marcel Duchamp that I saw at the MoMA last year (http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=81631) and that my prof talked briefly about. He was saying that conceptual art (the type of art that often makes no sense to people) is really about the idea as opposed to the physical form. A blank wall could be considered art if it makes the viewer think or if there is an idea that the artist is trying to convey.

    I too have difficulty grasping certain elements of the art world but it makes me all the more eager to figure it all out!

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