Monday nights, I get the pleasure of sitting down with my highly intelligent peers and talk as if we had no obligations to the art. As we utopically expunge art jargon from the realm of relevance, we unpack how art and its value are postured.
Two months ago in our first meeting, we invoked the name of the class and looked at the lingual validation of art via a certain vocabulary and those who we authorize to use it. We began with a clip from Work of Art (starting around 7:50 in this), and the art world episode of the Colbert Report. In both cases, a jargon and an expertise were invoked to validate the artistic merit of objects. It was not as Frank Stella told Colbert, that art is where you want to find it. The tone of the class was generally skeptical that artistic value could be thus thinly constructed.
The reason for this is because “art” has become a charged term with certain self-exclusiveness. Someone said that the word “art” self-inscribes its qualifier, that “art” implies “good art,” whereas “bad art” needs to be explicitly identified. Furthermore, there are categories of objects that gain membership to the category based on their relative level of acceptance in the canon, (something as internalized as painting versus objects outside the realm of sculpture).
Though I had hoped to avoid the question, the class answered with surprising ease what constituted art: intentional construction then validated by an establishment. I am still mulling this one over but the simplicity of this articulation was personally mind-blowing.
I will do my best to catch up and summarize the next few class discussions by next week. This has been an incredibly fun endeavor so far.