Your home for intelligent conversation on the web
The Arts Room General What is Art ?
THINQon is a platform for a more intelligent web. It aims to replace the ruling paradigm of the web – that of sharing and gathering information – with a sharing and achieving of understanding. Instead of the Q&A model it offers an experience. A platform for discovery of ideas, people, and yourself.     Continue >
What is Art ?
My students often ask me this question: "Hey mister, art, what is it?" or watching a painting of Picasso: "It is selling this thing?" These questions bother me deeply, because the answer is already contained in the question: the art is useless and Picasso did anything since my little brother 5 years could do the same thing. The worst is that these prejudices are shared by many adults. Sad to say but we live in an age where what is not selling, which has no direct practical interest, no practical use, has no value. However, such logic becomes too easy, in fact, if art did not serve absolutely to nothing, why is it also present in our society? And besides, in all societies in various forms. So what is art? What it occupies so important place? What can he bring?
What is it art? That is to say, what are music, poetry, painting, film, sculpture or literature, theater, architecture?
Let me give just one example that impressed me:
I remember this amazing video where we see Isaac Stern, in a concert in Jerusalem during the Gulf War, bareheaded, playing before a crowd of spectators wearing gas masks because of an alert of fire missile.
He said in an interview: "I played a Mozart concerto with the Israel Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta, when suddenly he came to me:" Isaac, there is a missile attack, we must stop the concert "The orchestra was then removed and I felt the nervousness was beginning to gain the public. I then took my violin and I played the 'Partita in D minor for solo violin' of Bach. It was funny to see all these people in the room with their gas masks ... Slowly, they relaxed ... I just wanted to feel useful and defy the fury of destruction through music ... "
Blaise Pascal wrote: "Man is neither angel nor beast."
That day, February 23, 1991, against bestiality, horror and destruction, the voice of an angel was heard,  a Man rose to the rank, the dignity of a God.
Thanks, Mister Stern.
So the art, it will not really anything?
Your post is art. 
Keep teaching what you love and believe.

In response to Linda OReilly
Thank you very much, Linda, you are a very nice person.
Very important, if difficult question. As a remark, I'm not sure people have any idea how to relate to the invisible anymore. As many people have observed, we've become so focused on what can be seen (and the identification of the visual with truth) that anything unseen or unseeable is dismissed as mystic or unreliable. I wonder if there would be so much disregard for art in a society which privileged sound?

And yet it's strange that even visual art, as you point out, suffers from the prejudice of sight, from this preference for the photorealistic. It's as if people don't want to be reminded that there is more than one way of seeing, that there is an inherent multiplicity in any deep thing (even if, at the same time, they embrace a kind of cheap relativism).

One of the nice things in your story of Isaac Stern is that the threat of attack (which one can't exactly yet see, but the worry begins, and there is the danger of gas) is fought with music, with a mastery or a persuasion of the emotions, the entire battle taking place beyond the reach of the eyes. (still am thinking about Molly's point about Hades)
Join the Community
Full Name:
Your Email:
New Password:
I Am:
By registering at, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Discussion info
Latest Post: February 14, 2011 at 8:18 PM
Number of posts: 6
Spans 109 days

No results found.