What is Art?
Have you ever been to a museum, walking around the museum, looking at all the art - and felt nothing.
You stop at a painting, that catches your eye, there is something intriguing about it that is pleasing to look at, but as you start to study it in more detail, you feel kind of stupid for not understand what this painting is about. You leave the painting, and continue your search for a painting you really like, that understands you as you understand it, but as you leaving your hope to find such an image diminishes a little, and you begin to feel like a fraud, a pseudo-intellectual, because you cannot appreciate these pieces of art on a profound level that you feel you are supposed to in these surroundings. Most of the time you think to yourself, I could do that.
You come home, and you remember absolutely none of what you just spend four hours on studying.
Not to worry, you are not the only one. But to change this, you need to meditate and think about art in a new way. You need to think about what kind of art you do appreciate. My personal meditations are what I want to talk about now.
Why do we call something The Art of Business or The Art of Seduction or The Art of Brewing - what is it exactly we mean to communicate when we use the term art, in a contact out of the traditional arts? Are we trying to say that Business has aesthetic physical features somewhere, or that seduction can be expressed beautifully in solid materials? No. What we mean when we use the term Art in these contexts is that it takes effort. It is an art, means that not everyone can do it, that there is something hidden in the acts that not everyone has access to. If everyone could be excellent at business, seduction or brewing, it would not be an art.
So what about when we talk about the art of walking - what do we feel when we take a skill everyone masters and apply it to the arts. Suddenly you feel there is more to it, and you need to know what you don't know about this skill you though you mastered. In implies that there is something more to walking and that someone who have mastered the art of walking, knows which you don't.
This is art: effort. When we through a gallery, we as spectators should never think, I could do that - because it implies that there is no effort in the artist work, if an amateur from the streets could do it. It is depicted well in The Intouchables when Phillipe sells Driss' painting for a small fortune. We feel the buyer is getting cheated, and the two lead characters and taking advantage of the ignorant rich fellow. Yet, we take the two conmen's side, because we sense that the buyer is a fraud too, as he cannot tell the difference between a painting made by a professional, and an amateur.
So art is not limited to painting, or sculptures or poetry. Anything can be an art if it holds effort and quality. But then we go back to the museum and look at the art - suddenly you don't feel so stupid for not understanding the art on the wall. Maybe they were not meant to be understood in the way you want to understand them and forcing this understanding, this urge to find profound meaning in something that is made to just look pretty and pleasing to the eye frustrates you. So you need to see it for what it is.
Personally, this meditation led me to understand what kind of art I like. I like to look at classic and neo-classic art because you can say with no doubt, that these artist have spend years beating on their craft. Have tried, and failed a million times. But also, it enables you to see which artists, who do At no point through the Sistine Chapel you never think to yourself I could do that. At no point when you walk through the streets of Barcelona or Paris and look up at the buildings to think, I could have thought of those.
This perspective opens art up to include all industries and crafts. You can find art in anything if you know what to look for.