What Is Art??


So what is Art, any­way?? Not to get all philo­soph­i­cal or any­thing, but you have to admit that’s a good ques­tion! If you ask 100 peo­ple, you’re likely to get 100 dif­fer­ent answers. I recently attended an exhibit at the Den­ver Art Museum titled, “What is Art?”. This ques­tion was posed to exhibit view­ers who responded on sticky notes that cov­ered an entire wall. Read­ing these responses was both enlight­en­ing and enter­tain­ing and a great intro­duc­tion to the Mod­ern Art sec­tion of the museum.

Many great thinkers through­out his­tory have also attempted to answer this thought pro­vok­ing ques­tion. Here are a few of my per­sonal favorites:

“Cre­ativ­ity is allow­ing your­self to make mis­takes. Art is know­ing which ones to keep.”
~ Scott Adams

“Art is every­thing that humans do that goes beyond prac­ti­cal motives.”
~ Diane Scott

“We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us real­ize the truth.”
~ Pablo Picasso

The aim of art is to rep­re­sent not the out­ward appear­ance of things, but their inward significance.”
~ Aris­to­tle

Art is any­thing you can get away with.”
~ Mar­shall McLuhan

Engage your stu­dents in this dis­cus­sion and pre­pare your­self for a lively debate! This is espe­cially effec­tive when begin­ning a study of Abstract Art, such as the paint­ings of Amer­i­can artist Jack­son Pol­lock.

Now, on a lighter note, try your hand at cre­at­ing your own Abstract Art! Check out this enor­mously fun web­site (voted one of TIME mag­a­zines “50 Coolest Web­sites” in 2003) cre­ated by Greek artist, Mil­tos Mane­tas. Try it out at http://www.jacksonpollock.org/ but beware.… this web­site is addict­ing!! (See my own design at the top of this post, and ask your­self, “Is it Art??”)

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7 Responses to What Is Art??

  1. Adam Trowbridge October 16, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    that web­site is so cool! How did you save your image? did you do a screen shot?

    Love you!

  2. Anonymous October 16, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    Cheryl, That web site is fun. Very cool post. Love, Roy

  3. Anonymous October 22, 2008 at 7:48 pm #

    Thanks for putting a car­toon­ist in your quote line-up! And isn’t jacksonpollock.org great! My friend John sent me there… good stuff! Smiles, Brig.

  4. Gabby October 23, 2008 at 7:00 am #

    Wow, Love the Jack­son Pol­lack site, totally addicted now. How do you change col­ors? I won’t be get­ting much work done today if this keeps up. Keep up the great work.

  5. Faige June 9, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    Do you know what I love about Jack­son Pol­lack? It’s that any child can see his work and can think “Hey I can do that”.
    There is so much pres­sure on chil­dren to do real­is­tic work that it is so refresh­ing when they have the oppor­tu­nity to see artists that to their eye look like any child can do that work. What a great boost to their self esteem.

  6. TeachKidsArt June 9, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    I agree! That’s why I also love teach­ing Picasso projects to kids. Abstract art is a great way to get kids (or any­one!) loos­ened up and hav­ing fun just being creative!

  7. rita October 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    to me art is what makes the body rejoice and the soul sing.

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