Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Response to Saltz Article: What is Art?

When I began reading Saltz's article trying to define and explain art, I almost immediately came to a disagreement.  Saltz asserts that art on it's own cannot cure a disease and change the world, but it can inspire change.  I do not think this is completely true.  Sure, a painting will not be the solution to global warming or cure cancer, but I think that art can be found in the things that actually can.  There is a beauty or natural art that can be found in anything, especially depending on the way you look at it.  For example, many things have some sort of pattern when examined on the microscopic level.  Look at this picture of bacteria in the presence of an antibody vaccine.
This is something that is having a direct positive impact and can be considered art.Personally, I can see beauty in this image.  I am someone who likes images with designs and patterns, so it evokes a response and connection from me, which would make it art.  However, it is not necessarily intentional art.  It exists and it always will without an artist making intentional creative decisions.  This gives a kind of exception to his statement that art itself can change the world, but I would assert that art can be found in the things that can change the world.

Saltz’s discussion on art commenting on other art is something that I think is very interesting.  It made me think that all art is building off of everything else.  That reminded me of a discussion my literature class had today.  We talked about the importance of studying older writing because every writer builds off of the ideas of others.  I think this applies to art as well.  Each artist can put their own fresh take on an idea, but there is always some sort of precedent that has already been set.  Every piece of art is in some sort of conversation with every other piece, and this conversation can evolve with time.

I think that Saltz is making a very valid point in trying to refute the people that say that art is simple, shallow, and unimportant.  As someone who has been actively involved in performing arts for most of my life, I have seen them be brushed off as something useless.  I know firsthand that art is not always appreciated.  Saltz’s article is actually a great defense for education of the arts.  Some people need to learn to gain a deeper appreciation from art because they cannot connect with what they are seeing immediately, and should not expect to connect with everything that they see.  I think that art should be taught like the cat analogy from Eric Fischl.  We should be open to having an open relationship with art.  I have never felt that I have come to a complete understanding of a piece of art when I have looked at it; in fact, I have never really felt like I have a complete understanding of my own art.  But I have come to the point where I can see something, connect with, and react to it.  Saltz’s definition gives an open-ended but precise idea of what art is. I define art as anything, created intentionally or unintentionally, that can be seen by someone as beautiful.  It does not need a particular motivation or composition to fit this criteria; it just needs to evoke an emotional response, whether it be happiness, anger, calm, or anything in between.

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