I was just watching an episode of Creature Comforts America on Netflix that reminded me of something I feel needs to be addressed: Art – what is art, and what isn’t. (By the way, if you’re not familiar with the CCA show, it sprung from this cool claymation short here from back in 1989. The show [unfortunately] is voiced by Americans, so it loses a bit of the British charm that the original short has.)
Now, to the point: I am addressing the painting and sculpting mediums. I realize that there are other outlets of art (dance, theatre, film, poetry, fiction), but I’m just addressing the two still visual arts for now.
This probably won’t take very long, actually. Good art? That’s easy – either a work that very closely resembles something one can recognize, or that one can tell unequivocally what is being shown. If you paint a bowl of fruit, it’s very easy to tell whether or not you’re a good painter by how much it looks like an actual bowl of fruit. On the other hand, if you throw paint on a canvas and label it some abstract idea (like, say, “Depression”), then you either suck as an artist, are trying to cheat dim-witted hipster art critics out of their money, or both.
Likewise, if you painstakingly craft the awesome form of a man from a block of marble, that’s good art! But if you solder trash together and call it “My Summer in Maine”, then you are one of the three options listed above… a dunce, a shyster, or both.
For some odd reason, this always draws the most groans from idiots who desperately want to call themselves “artists” so they can seem like they’re something more interesting than the paint-covered numskulls that they are. If you have no talent as an artist – believe me, you know it! And to keep others from finding out the same, you groan and roll your eyes at people like me and try to keep the definition of “art” as loose as humanly possible. Well, it’s not. And you’re a jackass.
For the sake of rupturing further nutsacks, here are some examples of good art and bad art…
^ Good Art: “Napoleon Crossing the Alps (Belvedere version)” by Jacques-Louis David
^ Bad Art: “The Scream” by Edvard Munch
^ So Shitty A CHILD Could Do It Art: untitled work by Jackson Pollock
^ Good Art: The Pallas-Athene-Brunnen fountain in front of the Austrian parliament
^ Bad Art: “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt
^ What The Fuck Was He SMOKING?!? Art: aluminum sculptures by Franz West
Additionally, for the sake of argument: fantasy creatures also count as art. Even if something has never existed (like dragons) people have a decent idea of what one should look like. Scribbles and splotches of paint masquerading as something recognizable? Get bent.
As a special extra for those of you who’ve held on this long, here’s Brian Regan basically saying the same thing: from “The Epitome of Hyperbole”. I couldn’t find the full video clip of his live comedy performance on YouTube, so I went ahead and edited a copy and posted it myself. Enjoy. ^_^