Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0113, March 7, 2017


Eye Candy

Have a piece. It's delicious and the best part is you can consume it and have it too.

Copyright 2017 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski

     "But is it Art?" asks Prickles. Well, per our discussion a few M&Rs ago, as the Artist all I need to do is declare this to be Art and Art it is. "Oh," says Prickles, "I thought that was a joke." I beg your pardon? A joke? I have never been more serious in my life! "But," Prickles protests,"you can't even draw a circle or a straight line and you have no sense of proportion whatever. How can you be an Artist?" You are confusing art and Art with capital "A". I may be a lousy artist with lower case "a" - that is, a bad craftsman - but that has nothing to do with my god-like powers of aesthetic discernment which are the mark of an Artist. "I would think," says Prickles, "that such powers of discerment are rather a mark of an Art critic, such as myself.". Well, you do have a point. Artists and Art critics both are gifted with exalted powers of aesthetic discernment, they just express them differently: Artists in works of Art, critics in essays about those works.

     ."But to return to my question," Prickles insists, "on what grounds can we, you the Artist and I the critic, declare this eye candy, a mere confection, to be a work of Art?" What's so "mere" about a confection? A confection is putting together various ingredients in an artful form - a definition applicable to Art as well as candy. Just because something is sweet and pretty - even without irony - doesn't mean it is not Art. Nor does being machine or computer made disqualify an object from being Art. "Well," says Prickles, "why not take it all the way and say that nothing disqualifies an object from being Art." This is actually true. "So if there is nothing that cannot be Art," Prickles continues, "can there be anything that is not Art?"

     The problem, Prickles, is that, as we discussed a few M&Rs ago, Art may be undefinable. Or it is defined by that certain inexpressible "je ne sais quoi". Generally, if you have an emotional response to an object for you it may be Art, at least in that moment. "Being recognized as Art" seems to be a subjective, context dependent process. All that notwithstanding, there exist objects which firmly claim Artship because their aesthetic power and integrity are recognized by a wide consensus. On the other hand, if you can pass an object by without emotionally engaging with it, then, for you at least, then and there, it does not qualify as Art. "In that case," says Prickles, "I recommend that we leave it to the Readers to decide whether today's confection is Art. It may be for a few but I suspect not for most. Cheer up! Van Gogh had the same problem."

     .As usual, Prickles has the last word.


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