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Art - What is it?

"Artist Flopparoo" by Craig Burkhalter, printmaker

I follow several media outlets that report on the visual arts. Obviously I want to know what's going on. Retrospectives, museum collections, works on loan, "Artists to Watch," changes in programs of study at university art departments, etc. I have mixed feelings about practically everything I read.

I must be slipping.

Why else would I feel totally disconnected from what the art world deems worthy?

This is my perspective on what makes a work of art.

1. Art is personal. I remember being told that every painting is a self-portrait. When I was younger I thought that was total hogwash but now I know better. Everything an artist makes comes from within. It can't be anything but personal.

2. On the surface, it's decorative. I'm not saying art has to be pretty (although I've had enough of this world's ugly meanness and I'd much rather create beautiful things). Art changes a space. It draws attention to itself, which leads me to No. 3.

3. Art affects you. There must be something about it that makes a person hesitate, something that feels "off," there's a mystery, something that makes a person squint and tilt their head. You leave the room and then inexplicably come back to it.

4. It's recognizable. I don't mean abstract art isn't art. I mean that the artwork looks like itself, that it can't be mistaken for another piece or a piece by another artist. It has its place in the world and owns it

Just some light musings for a Tuesday.

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