But is it art?


Almost invariably.

I mean. It’s a question of definitions, but I tend to the inclusive. For me the word art and artifice are strongly linked. Something that is made. That is art. So this is. Whatever this is. So I guess we exclude nature, unless we accept some omnipotent creatrix artiste. But then we get in to the troublesome grey area of ‘so what the hell isn’t nature?’

Everything else?

Everything art.

Was it Scott McCloud who defined art as anything that doesn’t directly contribute to survivalist needs? (I’m googling it as we speak and turning up nothing, so I’m confused) As soon as you build, make or think something that isn’t about feeding yourself or providing shelter it’s art.

But then, doesn’t that, in a roundabout fashion exclude the creations of the ‘jobbing artist’ as art? If you art to survive, then do you still art?

I like to think, in my optimistic moments, that my life is a grand piece of interpretive dance. A meaning known to none of the players will be revealed to the divine concursus once the curtain falls. I don’t get it, but someone else could maybe.

I take pleasure in movement, in living for the sake of living. Of trying to occasionally be and make and observe something beautiful.

Is that art? Or just pretentiousness? I aim for both. Proudly.

This is art.

This is not a pipe. It’s art. Always.

If it makes you think. If it presents a perspective, or destroys one, then it’s art. If it elicits an emotion, fear, laughter, disgust or bemusement, then it’s art.

I don’t think context even matters. Occasionally the finest, subtlest performances are by those who don’t know anyone is watching. Entirely unintentional.

Is that even artifice? What about when the beautiful just happens? The idle smile of affection that would normally be hidden from sight. Is that art?

I think so.

I think it’s partly in the way we percieve things. Perhaps when you take that step back and consider a moment as something unique. That’s what makes it art?

I like that. Art is a medium of perception, more than anything else. It explains why it’s so much easier to find in art galleries than the rest of the world. The context allows us to take that step back from things quicker. See things through the glass and the frame.

And perhaps that’s part of the point of those absurd pieces of art that most often get ridiculed with the titular question. You see a dog turd on the street, and it’s a nuisance, you see it in a gallery, and it’s a talking point. It becomes art.

Because the galleries don’t want you to know the truth.

That dog turd was always a piece of art.

It could always tell you something about the world. It always had room in it for consideration. There was always something to be learnt.

You just have to learn to see it.



—Illustrated by Anna-Kaisa.


About Alex Ava

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool. Non binary trans. zey/hir or they/them
This entry was posted in Questions by Justin. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to But is it art?

  1. Pingback: Can a man shit sculptures? « Unstruck

  2. Pingback: Is it possible to cook a work of Art? | Unstruck

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