Monday, September 19, 2022

Art, Again

Grand Rapids has a big art contest called "ArtPrize."

There are hundreds of places around downtown where art is displayed, both inside and outside. I went to one of the larger venues and looked around. 

I don't pretend to know anything about art. 

Most of what I saw was honestly crap. Literally, I saw three paintings that were cat portraits. Perfectly fine cat portraits, mind you, but still. 

Anything can be called "art," though, so it was all art, including a worn cardboard box with some kind of mission statement attached. 

There was this, though, and I thought it was beautiful:

This was a huge piece, too, at least ten feet wide. 

I wonder if some artists get tired of having everything called art, when they spend their lives creating art? Art that is perhaps significantly more substantial than a cardboard box with a mission statement?

The history of art is filled with both extreme gatekeeping and no gatekeeping. Impressionism? Not art, at first. Surrealism? Absolutely not art, at first. Abstract art? Same. Art drawn on a computer? Don't get me started.

Eventually, though, they were all accepted.

On the other end is a fierce philosophical defense of art that claims anything can be art. It's a defense against non-artists who want to claim the ability to judge what is art (and thereby limit it). 

I think it's not unfair to say that as personal expression, anything can be art. That doesn't mean it's good, though, and it doesn't mean it isn't disposable. 75% of what I saw on exhibit was totally disposable. 

Are there some kinds of art that computer-generated art can't replace? Absolutely, and thank god. All the disposable stuff, though? Totally replaceable. 

Given how much momentum these art-generating programs have now, I think it's going to happen much sooner than anyone expects. 

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