A few months ago I visited a local art musuem (largely because it was free). Although there were a lot of classic works there, near the front lobby was a small section of “modern” pictures and paintings. One of these pictures showed the small of someone’s back, his/her buttocks, and the top part of his/her thighs. “This is art?” I wondered. Then a curious thought hit me, what if I went home, dropped my drawers, and took a picture of my rear end and sold it to an art gallery? College tuition problem is solved!
Stop gagging, I didn’t and won’t do such a thing (unless I become very desperate for cash). But this experience started rolling in my mind the age old question “what is art?” or “what should be considered art?” As I dwelt on this more, I began to see that for today’s generation the question doesn’t so much rely on what art is, but it’s moreso a question of boundaries.
Today’s generation continually pushes for no boundaries in all facets of life, but especially in art. If only artists could have their way, then we would reach a new zenith of artistic culture. But is this really the case? Once you throw out boundaries, who’s to say what is art and what is not? You suddenly find yourself in this postmodern conundrum of “what is the true truth here?” Is art what the majority says is art or is there a universal line that true art rides on?
I believe there should be boundaries in art. Give me a box and tell me to work in it. A situation like that would cause my imagination to soar. What wild ideas could I come up inside the boundary line? What a challenge! In modern culture, take Pixar. Year after year they produce hit movies that outsell nearly all other movies on the market. What’s crazy is that they’re producing family movies so they have stricter boundaries to work in. Yet despite this they have some of the more creative plots, jokes, and ideas out there.
Now I’m not saying that all art should be catered strictly toward family (though I see no harm in that) and I’m not saying art’s boundaries should be kept as small as possible. I see the world of art as a vast rolling plain, a continent if you will, bordered by an impassable ocean. Stay within the borders and you’re safe, but try to swim beyond the tide and you’ll find only doom and danger. So be creative, but within reason. None of this “artistic anarchy” trash. That will only confuse and ruin art. Go by the universal lines of moral art. It may feel cramped, but let that challenge you to create a masterpiece with what you have.
What say you? Agree? Disagree?