If you’ve read my first blog you know that my Dad was a fine artist. He was part of the burgeoning art scenes in the 1960s and 1970s that thrived in the communities of East Hampton and Woodstock NY…(before they both mostly became a place where the super-wealthy summered).
He had a friend who was a famous artist (and I WILL remember his name one day, I promise!! Oy!)…the point is, they would discuss (and by discuss, I mean argue) what they believed “Art” was, by definition.
My dad believed fervently that art is something that must be created from the heart, or even from the mind, but in either case, it had to come “through” the artist to be called “Art.”
His famous (nameless for now) friend would try to tell him that any random thing could be called “Art.”
Once, they had the “discussion” while they were walking down the streets of NYC. Dad’s friend decided to make his point more strongly. He bent down and scooped up a pile of dog shit in his hand, and said, “THIS is art; anything is art if I, as the artist, say it is!”
I remember Dad told that story to me and my brother when we were little kids, which, needless to say, sent us into fits of laughter.
The funniest part, though, was that the next time Dad went to the Whitney Museum to see his friend’s latest show, he came upon a single white pedestal that held a pile of white-painted dog poop (the “art” dramatically roped off for effect).
So I guess you could say, technically, my dad “lost” that round. But he kept working and creating – never stopping until he could not physically do it anymore. To me, that is the answer – the end of the argument.
Whatever “art” is, THAT is what it means to be a true artist.