72. When is art?

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A piece of art comes to life when we can feel, it is breathing when it talks to us and starts raising questions. It may dispel biased perceptions; make us recognize ignored fragments and remember forsaken episodes of our life story. Art may sometimes even be nasty and disturbing if we don't want to consent to its philosophy or concept, but it might, in the end, perhaps reconcile us with ourselves.

Art can blow us out of our pigeon hole. In deafness it may shout or scream, in blindness, it may arrest our attention, in numbness it may shake up our mind. If we don't sense anything at all and take everything for granted, art can kick us in the ass, give a conscience and make us aware.

Beauty may no longer be what it was before. It has become suspect, and many have dethroned it from its art pedestal. A lot of questions are raised: "When" is art ?", "What" is art?", "Can this be art? " As some feel so powerless and speechless, they painfully resort to the uplifting and comforting counsel of their art shrink.

When Elisabeth II was offered a painting at her visit to Germany, she was quite unimpressed " That's a funny color for a horse " and " Is that supposed to be my father? "Like so many people she was disappointed by the kind of "grotesque kitsch."

For Arthur Danto there is another type of "art" today, where good taste is optional, bad taste is artistically acceptable, and "kalliphobia"—an aversion to if not a loathing for beauty."

For Danto Kant's book, " Critique of Judgments, is maybe "the most satisfactory basis for aesthetics we have had, up to Modernist art. " After modernism, he states, that a new aesthetic conception had come to life, with the inspiring conception that " the whole world was consisting of latent artworks waiting, like the bread and wine of reality, to be transfigured, through some dark mystery, into the indiscernible flesh and blood of the sacrament."

He concludes that art is "the embodiment of an idea," defined not by how it looks but by what it has to say. " Much of contemporary art is hardly aesthetic at all, but it has in its stead the power of meaning and possibility of truth."

Danto's model was Andy Warhol with his Brillo boxes.

A century ago Marcel Duchamp pioneered this vision with his "Fountain " ("urinoir") (1917).

PS. Not only the public but also the artists themselves raise the question: "When is Art ?". So does David Hockney, for instance, express his personal view on art and the artists. He notably criticizes and regards Gerhard Richter as an "overrated squeegee" painter ( Monopol) and " Jeff Koons as a terrible painter. Terrible painter." ( The Guardian). The New York Review of Books describes Koons' work as "baloney" and the Spectator as imbued with a "deadly smugness," full of "cheap, tone-deaf, misogynistic images" that look "dreadful." The New Yorker described it as "angry." Koons thinks his work is about polarities between the organic and the inorganic, about love or be loved, about the issues of the baroque, where everything is negotiated, about the different aspects of the eternal through biology. Koons says his art is "accessible" and there are no right or wrong interpretations.

In the turbulent art arena, they all pitch in and do their dubious and mercantile part in the rocambolesque saga of the art since so many judge art with their ears and the sound of the money.

The question: "When is Art ?" remains a fascinating debate.

The question: "When is Art ?" remains a fascinating debate

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