‘But is it art ?’ The search for a simple, practical and illuminating answer

Alldaynight.Info (2016)
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Abstract

‘Art’ still needs a practical, useful definition, not of the academic variety, but rather of the plain and simple sort that you can usefully take with you into a gallery, and apply directly to what you see. People want to know, with a basic clarity, what it is they are looking at, and how to judge the good from the bad. Because if you don’t know what ‘art’ is, and you think it’s all about ‘classical fine crafting’, then you are missing out on a very special type of experience, and an entire realm of imaginative possibilities. As it turns out, the best way to think of ‘art’ – taking a huge hint from the concept of ‘arthouse cinema’ - is not about delighting in solemn, stolid museum pieces, and developing a deferential love of the classical: it is all about an exploration - through various available media - of the strange, the disturbing, and the darkly fascinating. The great thing about art is that it offers a safe and enjoyable environment in which to contemplate all kinds of darkness, without having to submit to this negativity in life itself.

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