What makes art, Art?

Published 8:56 am Thursday, July 13, 2017

By Andi Bedsworth

Art is a word that is often coupled with other words. Arts and Crafts, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Temporal Arts, Spatial Arts, Modern Art, Fine Art, Naïve Art, Impressionism Art, Literary Art, Three-dimensional and etc.

Art as a word and a subject also conjures up many opinions and emotions for people. Some people consider art to be reserved for certain classes while others are intimidated by art or do not understand art they see in museums or galleries.

Email newsletter signup

Why is the word Art so complicated and has so many meanings, provoke thought and elicit emotional responses? Well, I am not an expert, but I do think that art means different things to different people, and I know art intimidates people as many people have mentioned this to me in the past.

Sometimes a friend or student will ask me what a work of art is about or what it means, as we are looking at it in a gallery, and this always feels like a trick question. I am not sure that it means anything, though sometimes it does for the artist. Sometimes it does not represent anything in a realistic way, but does that make it any less artistic?

The Modern Art movement confuses many as they look at Warhol, Rothko, and Pollock, and think they themselves or their toddler aged children could create something very similar. They wonder why it is so valuable when it is so simple. There is a much bigger picture than one can see on the canvas when looking at works like this.

Art reflects society and often is a response to what came before it. Modern Artists in some ways were expressing themselves and also making statements about what art is in comparison to what art was before they started making it. Each generation seems to want to rebel against what was popular the generation before. Remember the backlash against disco? Well, art is often a backlash against the accepted norm that came before it.

So, what is art and what can it do? Art can be fine craft, music, a painting, a sculpture, a building, a performance, a poem, a novel, and many other creations. Art pushes limits. Art broadens minds. Art stimulates conversations. Art can be crafty and art can be high-minded. Art can be all of these things depending on who is considering it. That is why art seems to endure. It is constantly changing, morphing and developing based on current taste, trends, political environments and emotional states of the community and artists who create it.

Because of the amount of art there is out there in the world, there is some that each of us might find uninspiring or even confusing, while there will be some that we find inspirational and resonates with us. At the same time that art is complex, diverse, global, confusing, it is also compelling, interesting, stimulating and beautiful. And this is what makes art, Art.

Andi Bedsworth is the owner of Art To Go, which brings free art opportunities to children in the community.