Posted 28 June 2011 - 08:58 AM
I was listening to the podcast this morning and I have a small bone to pick with Danny about his idea of Art. The definition of art that Danny proffered was ". . . Art is anything that stems from the self; primarily for the self. Created as a personification of something within the self. It must be created purely to be art. It cannot be created for money. It cannot be created to evoke a feeling in another, unless that feeling is to be created through the art . . . [every aspect of the art must be definable by the artist and essential to the work] . . . It cannot stem from a collaboration."
This definition presents several problems when used as a definition of art. The primary problem with this definition is that it has eliminated nearly every piece of art made since the first awakenings of civilization. If we remove any piece of art created for money, or for some returned service such as food, then every artisan who has ever made his living through his craft is no longer an artist and nothing sold could be considered a work of art. In turn this would mean that the only thing that could qualify as art would be such works as street graffiti (under very limited conditions), cave paintings, and works done at home by individuals too poor in their crafts to make a living. The great standard bearers of art (Rembrandt, Picasso, Pollack, Michelangelo, Steinbeck, Ginsberg, Dickens, Mozart, Beethoven, Williams, et al) are all eliminated and what we are left with to consider as art is utter shit.
The definition also creates problems when it eliminates collaboration. Most of the great works of fresco (such as the The Last Supper and The Sistine's famous ceiling), sculpture, and many of the large paintings from ancient times forward were done with the aid of apprentices. All the great architectural and musical works of art that exist in the world are the product of collaboration (I should point out that there is a slight exception to that last statement as those works that exist purely on paper are the sole product of an individual, but when brought to life - i.e. built or played - they become collaborative works). So this aspect of the definition would essentially only recognize efforts of individuals who are capable of producing a product without any aid, such as a Pollack. Groups, such as the London Symphony Orchestra or the Beats (Kerouac, Ginsburg, Burrows, ect.), who perform together or use each other to build and create their works of art are immediately eliminated.
These two limitations have provided us with a definition of art that only recognizes the works of individuals who are too poor at their craft to make a living doing it. It has eliminated all music, architecture, dance and performance art.
If we then attempt to enforce the idea that the artist must be able to define the aspects of the work to the artists we have left after our previous eliminations then we find we have no art left at all. At that point we are essentially dealing with incompetents in their fields. Men and women who are still learning their craft and who have not learned how to properly define themselves creatively - because once they achieve that level of competency they begin to sell their works and are eliminated by another aspect of the definition.
A better definition of art would have been: Art is any creative work produced by an individual or group that evokes an emotional response from its audience. This definition is broad enough to allow for all forms art while at the same time eliminating false echoes from the conversation.