Wednesday, 4 December 2013

What is art?

Hello my darlings!

Today I want to write a blog about something that has kept me thinking for a while, especially now that I'm doing an art course myself. Today in my philosophy class we've been discussing the following question: What is art?

I have to be honest. I don't see art in everything. If I go to a museum and I see a black painting with a white dot on it, I can't consider it art, even though there must have been an amazing concept behind it. A classmate of mine, who studies classical piano, said no true classical music was made after the 1950s. All matters of opinion really. What I consider art might not be art to you and vice versa. It's an interesting thing.

I have learned much more about art in the past few months. I've learned more about processes behind pieces of art and I've learned how to cooperate those in my own work. It made me appreciate art more, yet still I find myself wonder why something is so easily classified as art just because the artist said it is. I was relieved that even the art students questioned everything.

For example, the following piece by John Cage called 4'33". It's basically 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence. The only sounds are produced by the audience. Do you consider this art?

I get the idea behind it. We never really sit in silence to listen to all that's around us, while really, we make music without realising it. But, as another classmate remarked, this is more of an experiment than a real composition. But when should it be considered art?

Music, especially, is an area full of artistic blurred lines. We can all agree that Beethoven's fifth symphony is a real work of art, yet music like that is barely made anymore. Is Justin Bieber's 'Baby' art? Is Lady Gaga really as artistic as she claims to be? Difficult. To the fans of certain singers, everything their favourite popstar does is like a holy grail to them. I have learned to be a little more critical. For me a modern popsong hardly ever is art. Not unless it matches a song like 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in genius. For me personally, I am only interested in and consider a singer a true artist if I understand and appreciate not only the music but the whole concept and ideas behind what someone does. For that reason, I think, yes, Gaga is artistic but I can't consider Artpop the album to be an artistic masterpiece. It seems pretty mindless to me, with mostly empty lyrics and beats I can't get into. It's not art to me. It's just mindless pop music and it's okay if it is just that. I just don't really get why she wants to portray it as any more than that. It is hardly revolutionary.

As I'm typing this, I'm listening to Britney's new album. Whereas I can see Gaga's artistic side, I don't consider anything Britney does as art. I think she is a good entertainer. An ok singer. Not more than that. But to her fans, what she does might be seen as the most artsy thing ever.

It's strange, isn't it? It's weird how our own tastes influence how we perceive things around us. But as my philosophy teacher said: "The truth is created by humans in different circumstances in time." Is there really good or bad music or art or photography if there is someone out there who truly enjoys it? Does everything have to have a deeper meaning in order to be art? So much to think about. I guess we never stop learning.

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