Monday, May 30, 2011

Art, Defined

by R.S. Mellette

When last we left our intrepid adventure into Artistic Cross Training, we were asked to define art. This was deemed necessary because we can't have a useful discussion about art if we don't have a common idea of what we're talking about.

I should say that I've done to you the same subtle slight of grammar that was done to me when I suffered through this exercise. Sorry about that, but the struggle is an important part of the training. For those still fighting for an answer, would it help if I worded it this way: Define The Arts?

ANSWER: Art is: Theatre, Dance, Music, Visual Arts, and Literature.

If you recall the college senior I overheard at a party boasting of adding one to the list, it was literature. Looking back on it, I'd say that any student who didn't include that should have been told "not quite." Architecture is sometimes listed, but that could be included as a part of the Visual Arts, just as Film and Television are a combination of Theatre and the Visual Art of Photography. That's what I said in 1980. Having worked on a few films since then, I'd say we have to figure out a way to get Sound included. I suppose it's an aspect of Theatre. No need to split hairs, as long as we give Sound the same respect Picture always gets.

So, when I talk of artists, I mean anyone who works in those five disciplines, or derivatives thereof. When I talk of art, I mean anything that fits within those categories or derivatives thereof.

So, is a stop sign art?

By this definition a stop sign in the street is not art, one hanging in a gallery is—but does that make it good?

That's the topic of my next blog.


Suze said...

I grew up on Love Road, and the street sign was always getting stolen. What do you supposed that brings to bear on this conversation?

RSMellette said...

Funny. I live right near "Love Street" which the Doors sing about... aka Laurel Canyon.

I think in your case you might call the street sign, evidence. :)

greenwoman said...

I don't know if a stop sign is art, but I know this video about stop signs cracks me up:

RSMellette said...

That's hilarious! I think those three have a future in publishing.

Christopher Hudson said...

As Leo the Lion would say, "Ars gratia artis."

RSMellette said...

"Art for Art's Sake" - Coming from MGM, and any professional artist, I'd prefer "Art for Sale."

But I'll get into that in the next blog.