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

    Love you!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!