I just got out of my art class and am sitting in the computer lab on campus. Today a guy brought in what I would call an essay on art. In the work he drew a line between written word and visual art. He also hit at artistic impression. In the end the paper felt, to me, he had broken down “art” to a scientific theory. I loved it. After he read it however the class was utterly quiet. No one commented. Everyone just sat still. Instead, they all chose to talk about the poem that was read just before it. A bad poem
It seemed like everyone was uncomfortable with the idea that art could be qualified. The poem was shit, yet everybody wanted to build it up as this great artistic expression. After they were done parading themselves as deep intellectuals I asked if the essay could be read again. It was. I then said that I thought that was great. I explained that I had had some trouble understanding what “art” was and that this work seemed to at least clarify that point to me. Again stillness. I was the only one to make comment on the essay. Everybody just gave me these looks like I just didn’t get it. Moving on the class tried to establish a link between the essay and the poem by suggestion and metaphor. I felt like these people were desperately trying to keep the artistic world as its own entity instead of making any concrete assertions about it.
To some degree I feel like the artistic world is bullshit. It is very much like the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. In my mind there is greater sincerity and depth of thought in someone who just likes a painting or poem just because they do, rather than those using quasi sophisticated intellectualism. I’m not going to tell someone that their artistic nude is a brilliant use of form and structure, and that it is telling it’s viewers to deconstruct the reality of the world by way of it’s use of contrast. No! I am going to say “Yeah, it’s good. However, it looks like any other hundreds of thousands of other artistic nudes I’ve seen.” A piece of art can be shit. What makes the Velvet Elvis or Crying Clown works any less substantial? They took time and energy and make use of theme, color, form, and contrast just like any other artwork.I guess I’m just pissed that I am not learning anything in this class. I would like to have a greater understanding of critique, but I guess I’ll just have to bite my lip and let the art majors pat themselves on the back. Though I will say that the guy who wrote that essay deserves far more accolades than most of the other people in there.