“Art”

Edward Ruscha, “Art” 1970. Acrylic on canvas.

Tonight’s image in inspired by an interesting debate we had in the Visual Culture class I teach. A student commenting that she because she did not like a painting (we were discussion the difference between a Classical ‘nude’ in art vs. someone being ‘naked’ in art) that she didn’t “think it was art.” That sparked the debate: What is art? Who gets to decide what it is? Is something not art because we don’t like it, or agree with the artists point of view? Ed Ruscha, who’s work is lumped into the Pop Art style alongside the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein gives us an isolated appropriation of the word ART. The image is purposefully simplified, looking more like a product logo than a traditional ‘artwork.’ That is precisely the point – is something art because it is sold as such? Do we stop and think about what art is delivered to us for mass consumption – or do we simply accept it as important because the auction house tells us it is? This idea is influenced by early artists such as Marcel Duchamp – the King of ‘anti-art.’ Although this image can be read as quite critical – I think its actually very freeing. Art is a whole lot more than a painting in a museum, or a sculpture in a garden – art is everywhere we look – and I for one am so glad that I can look at the world through that lens! (Original post to Instagram November 14, 2012.)

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