Really often, I hear people say, “Well I guess this art is not for everybody…” while looking at some displays. The truth is, not everything in a museum can be called art.
Let’s just stick to the simplest definition of art from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Art – the conscious use of skill and creative imagination, especially in the production of aesthetic objects.
The key words: skill, creative and aesthetic.
And another definition belongs to Thomas Hoving, Former Director of Metropolitan Museum of Art
Art is for enjoyment, fun, lifting of your spirits.
And PLEASE, if you are into political correctness, don’t read any further; you WILL get offended. Because there IS such a thing as beautiful and ugly; there are men and women, smart and stupid, ethical and unethical, talented and mediocre, art and using art as an excuse for political purposes.
I just went to the St. Pete FL Fine Art Museum and saw a disturbing show called Love Letters/White Flag: The Book of God, by Noelle Mason. She hand-embroidered Eric Harris’s journal on a vintage handkerchief. Page by Page…
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were two American spree killers and mass murderers, who killed 13 people and wounded 24 others armed with firearms and knives on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, in Columbine, Colorado. They were seniors at Columbine High. wiki
Was it skilled?
Absolutely, since she managed to replicate them using embroidery. It takes time, patience.
Was it creative?
I’m not really sure… I don’t see anything creative about it, and I’m not willing to give Noelle Mason a “gold star” for choosing a bunch of vintage handkerchiefs as her canvas.
Was it aesthetically pleasing?
No… but it WAS disturbing.
Is it FINE art – no, it is not.
What really makes me sad is that the Fine Art Museum has a beautiful collection and they still chose to bring something like that inside their walls. Are visitors down that shock is needed to attract foot traffic? However, I have to give credit to Noelle; she definitely created a conversational piece. Intrigued? If in Tampa Bay, visit the Museum of Fine Art, Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration on display until October 1st.
And YES, I believe in art that communicates world’s issues and makes a powerful statement, could be disturbing yet touches the hearts. Some of it does belong in the Fine Arts museums, but some are more appropriate for Museums of History, Social Studies, etc. and have nothing to do with FINE art.