PART 1. Project 1, Exercise 2, What is Art?

What is art? This is a huge question and the answer has to be really subjective. Is it just anything that is made by a human? But then why aren’t manufactured goods art? Does it then become about context? The piece in the previous exercise, Fountain, is a urinal that was manufactured. Does it become art because the artist says its art?

Duchamp said he wanted ‘to put art back in the service of the mind’. I think perhaps the ‘artwork’ in that case is no longer the piece of porcelain in front of the viewer; it’s the thoughts that they are having about that object and any discussions they then have with others.

My current personal view is that art should require some kind of skill from the artist, whether that’s technical skill or vision or design. I’m often not entirely comfortable with somebody just calling a found object art when it then becomes the words around the object that make it art – those words often sound entirely false and pretentious to me. I feel like I’m being conned or given the ‘hard sell’. Does this mean I like to be spoon-fed? Or not challenged?

‘Does art need to move you emotionally?’ I’m not sure what that question really means. We have an emotional response to everything we perceive, even indifference is an emotional response. Is the question about the strength of response? If so, then this still cannot be a measure of whether something is art because everyone has a different responses.

‘Does art have to be unique?’ I don’t think so. This question can be interpreted in more than one way: just one original? Print-makers may object! An entirely new idea? That would mean that no cover version of a song could ever be called art.

PART 1. Project 1, Exercise 1, Fountain

MD Fountain

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1950 (replica of 1917 original)

My First Response…..

I don’t like it, I don’t tend to like much ‘found’ art. Why did the artist designate this ‘art’? What does it mean? Who is ‘R. Mutt’? Is it anything to do with WWI? Is the orientation significant?