Not all art is art


We need to draw the line as to what constitutes art these days.

Last month, people stepped around a plain black glove that was dropped on the floor of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, thinking it was artwork.

Last year, a cleaner in an Italian gallery accidentally threw away an art piece that resembled a trashcan, because she thought it was actual trash.

It’s laughable that both of these incidents happened, but it’s also slightly alarming.

Today’s contemporary artists can throw anything together and call it “art”, whether it’s a garbage can or, potentially, a piece of clothing. But while it’s open to interpretation, we still need to reassess what we consider to be art.

All art should be based on a concrete creative process that viewers can connect to — in either positive or negative ways — so that they can draw meaning from it.

Some pieces of art are meaningless. For me, a piece must have meaning to be considered art, no matter what the creator claims.

I once reviewed an exhibit that consisted of a few shapeless blobs, accompanied by a towel hanging from a stick that was mounted on the wall.

That this was considered art just didn’t make sense to me. I couldn’t connect with it on any level whatsoever; it didn’t evoke anything at all — not even negative feelings.

Just because I didn’t understand it doesn’t mean it wasn’t art — but where to draw that line confuses me.

The creator might have put a lot of hard work in, but the finished product reflected a lack of imagination and passion that should be the mark of every art piece.

Our consideration of art doesn’t prioritize a person’s creative processes coming together to make something artistic. Instead, people seem to be creating art simply because it doesn’t matter what they create — if they call it art, then that’s what it is.

I don’t think that’s how we should be thinking. Art is subjective, but it’s important to recognize that just because you placed a towel on a stick and called it art, that doesn’t mean it is.

Kashmala is one of the Journal’s Arts Editors. She’s a second-year Arts and Science student.

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