It's been said that art is what you can get away with. But, that doesn't tell you what art is, rather, how it is perceived. Is the iPhone art in a pure sense? I would say no, but it is great design which is art with function. A better definition for art is that it's an expression of consciousness. We may sculpt marble or paint canvas with the intent of selling it, but art, in its purest sense doesn’t need to be sold. Art is that photo we snapped or that poem we wrote – the one we never intended to sell or even show someone else. We create something, where nothing previously existed, for creation's sake. We created it because we could. That's art in its absolute form… the unadulterated expression of consciousness. Unfortunately, though, this type art is too rare to be practical.
|Art is what you can get away with.|
Some art is meant to shock us like Howard Stern or a woman vomiting paint on canvas. Some art can be simple, yet so powerful that it moves us to tears like Marina Abramović’s The Artist is Present when her former lover, from decades ago, makes a surprise visit. One of my favorite pieces of questionable art that stimulates discussion is from the very man who’s credited with saying, “Art is what you can get away with.”
Internet Comments: Art in the 21st Century
That brings us to a new form of art which didn't exist before the Internet which is the comment, anonymous action at a distance. Every comment, even the most mundane one, is a shot that can be heard around the world by any Internet citizen. Most people comment with the intent of expressing their consciousness even though it may have no impact. Sure, there are the know-it-all educators who try to teach us a lesson; and there are the trolls whose purpose is only to evoke a reaction. But there are many commenters who couldn’t care less about how people perceive them. They’re merely expressing their consciousness.
I have two all-time favorite comments; neither of which was a comment on my own content. Both are lost to the Internet yet imprinted in my mind. The first one was a comment on the “questionable art” video of Andy Warhol I mentioned above where a citizen commenter wrote, “I love the part where he eats the hamburger.” That made me LOL out loud [sic].
Another comment that sticks in my mind was when someone posted this picture and asked, “What do these countries have in common?” The correct answer was, “These three countries don’t use the metric system.” But one clever commenter wrote, “These are all the countries that have put a man on the moon, plus Liberia and Myanmar.”
The thing to remember about comments, unlike popular art, is each person has their particular affection for each comment – and that’s okay. It’s like your favorite flavor of ice cream. Shock and awe doesn't require strength and dominance. Slow and simple can be just as profound and powerful like this musical performance.