Art. What is it? What is it not, might be a better question. I think art can mean anything and everything, depending on the observer.
My Moms and I traveled to NYC last weekend to visit my bros. We did tons of awesome stuff, including viewing some very interesting art.
The first piece that we viewed was The New York Earth Room, which is an art installation that’s been on display for 30 years. We ventured off of Houston a block or two, entered a nondescript door, climbed the narrowest, steepest stairs you have ever seen, and arrived in a white room that is covered in 250 cubic yards of earth. Dark, black, earthy earth. Earth that looks like it came straight out of an Iowa field. It smelled exactly like my high school art room. In other words, it smelled delicious. While viewing the room, I was like, “Huh, why is this “art?” But it’s strange, looking back on our trip, it was one of the neatest things we saw/experienced. It personified that fact that we were in New York City. To me, NYC has always seemed like a zillion small towns packed into a small place – everyone on the block knows each other, goes to the same restaurants, shops at the same bodegas, etc., especially in the area of Brooklyn in which my brothers live. Seeing an art installation like the Earth Room really helps you realize that you are in a unique place. No small town would ever commission a room full of dirt. Well, they might, but not for artistic reasons.
We saw another piece by the same artist, Walter De Maria. The other piece was the Broken Kilometer. De Maria laid out 500 brass rods in 5 parallel rows of 100 rows each. Click on the link to see what I am talking about. It was an interesting display, too, but not as cool as the Earth Room.
That evening we attended an art show in Brooklyn. It was held in a old abbey, full of interesting rooms and windows and more hipsters than I have ever seen in one place. I felt very alien there, with my non-skinny jeans and grey hoodie. There was some really amazing artwork and some really, really terrible artwork. At least, terrible to me. In listening to my brother’s explanation of “conceptual art” I’ve decided I’m probably more traditional in my tastes. I appreciate art that takes skill and imagination. So much of what we saw there and in many other galleries and art museums is what to me, seems so uninspired. What was the artist who punched perfectly circular holes in a sheet of paper trying to say? Was he really trying to say something, or was he just trying to get something done for the opening? Is the story an artist attaches to a piece of work more important than the work itself?
Not that I should be judging artists. At least these people are trying to create something new to this world. I say I want to create art, and then I just end up watching Season 2 of Veronica Mars, which isn’t even that good.
What does art mean to me, personally? What do I consider to be art? I appreciate art that takes skill to produce, that is creative, that is beautiful to look upon. Art can be a really great outfit (for example, black leather Vans, faded black Levis, and a grey long-sleeved t-shirt, which is the outfit I’m rocking today), an interesting hair style, or a beautifully crafted desk. I suppose anything that makes you think twice is art – something that arrests your attention. That is the kind of art I find interesting and inspiring.