Today I’m going to talk a little about art. Funny, I was going to do this anyway and dug out my Zappa autobiography (the reason will become clear in a minute) then I saw this post at my friend Huck’s blog and I got all fired up.
A few caveats: I’m no expert, just an ‘enjoyer’ of art.
Oh…there’s only one? I was sure there was more…
Now…the reason Zappa’s picture is up for this post is the following: If memory serves me correctly, I was about 19 in Victoria when I saw his autobiography sitting in Monroe’s books. I read it, enjoyed it and what he said about art I have taken with me since…and I’ve not found a better explanation yet. Forgive me for this, but frankly (no pun), I can’t figure out why people fight me so hard on it.
And here it is. I’m going to write what he said, first:
The most important thing in art is The Frame. For painting: literally; for other arts: figuratively-because, without this humble appliance, you can’t know where The Art stops and The Real World begins.
You have to put a ‘box’ around it because otherwise, what is that shit on the wall?
If John Cage, for instance, says, “I’m putting a contact microphone on my throat, and I’m going to drink carrot juice, and that’s my composition,” then his gurgling qualifies as his composition because he put a frame around it and said so. “Take it or leave it, I now will this to be music.” After that it’s a matter of taste. Without the frame-as-announced, it’s a guy swallowing carrot juice.
(Frank Zappa, 1989 (emphasis his))
*ahem* (emphasis mine, now)
After that it’s a matter of taste.
That is what I think of art. I cannot stand it when someone says one of the next two things:
“That’s not art!”
“I could have done that.”
…because, yes…it is. It may not be art you like, it may not be good art at all…but it is art…and maybe you could have…you didn’t, he/she did and someone liked it enough that now you’re seeing it in a public area. So, too bad you didn’t think of it and they did.
(and one day I’m going to write a post about how I’m all for using ‘they’ as a genderless singular pronoun)
Now, please understand, there is a huge difference between good and bad art and just because I think it’s art if the artist says it’s art doesn’t mean I think it’s good. Just because I believe that when B. Spears says what she does is music, it is music, doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s crap music.
But, also just because you don’t want to hang it on your wall (I’m thinking of Duchamp’s ‘fountain‘ right now) doesn’t mean it’s not an important, relevant, and/or influencial piece of art.
What I’m saying is this: it is not art based on whether you like it or not. Art does not have to be pretty…and thank christ for that. If it doesn’t speak to you, it may speak to someone else…and who are you to judge?
Ummm…yeah. I kinda got distracted just now, so I’ll end this here.