I've been thinking about this analogy of a door to define what art is (door as functional object, door as embellished object, and door as threshold intervention). It's a common question but I've always found the range of possible answers troublesome and ambiguous. How I got to thinking about "what art is" comes from my current frustration with my path in sculpture.
I have lost my reason (did I ever have a plausible reason?) for making in this context. I have not lost my reason for making in landscape architecture. I will get to that later.
I simply do not know why to do art and why I should create art.
A part of this frustration stems from my question as to how art contributes to society. It is human nature to attach a value to something, to appraise it for its worth: using time well, spending well, eating well, etc. I am not going to argue against this. I find that value -- that assessment of our environment -- forms our identity of self, and when summed as a whole, forms our identity of society. Going by this logic, every individual's identity -- who they are, what they do -- contributes to a culture, which when shared by others, forms a society. But, then, what of this idea of those artists who create art because they enjoy doing so? They create because they enjoy it and thus, that becomes their identity because it is something that they are or that they do. Does this directly translate as a contribution to society? Does it hold tangible, perhaps material, value?
Somehow, creating a sense of enjoyment for themselves and since some people think alike, for others as well, does not suit me. Perhaps being thus far ingrained in landscape architecture, which, as a design profession attempts to create usable, "practical" spaces in a larger environment (usually far larger in scale than for sculpture)*, I have grown accustomed to objects and spaces being created for an applicable function. There must be a benefit beyond simple desires of pleasure, which I liken to simple desires or levels of thought. I think the purposes of creating art that defines our surroundings should have more thought invested in their creation. I do not mean its fabrication, I mean it's concept. Therefore, I think that art created because one enjoys creating it is not art. It still is something, but I do not know what the term would be. One could use "low art" and its counterpart, "high art", but I think it is too patronizing to separate the two as two distinct and unrelated entities. It would be better to think that this "not-art" is a lesser developed plane of thought; but that it is as developed as possible, in that environment, for that person. Read More »