Yes, art was quite different a hundred years ago, and will be different a hundred years from now. Why is this a problem?John Bruce Leonard wrote:The problem, 3u, is that what a child might tell me today about art, is radically different than what a child might have told me, say, one-hundred years ago, when any child would certainly have corrected me if I had attempted to call a diamond-studded platinum skull a work of art, or a canvas covered in nothing but a grid. Our idea of what falls under the category “art” has undergone a shocking enlargement in the past hundred years, no doubt in large part to the transgressive nature of modern art, which you have encapsulated so perfectly with your comment that the only rule in art, is that there are no rules. But then, we cannot draw firm limits to what art will be in one hundred years, and it might well be that what today would never be considered art (say, mastadons or murder or empty space), might be considered art by future generations.
-- Updated June 2nd, 2016, 8:49 am to add the following --
Are there natural limits? I hope not.John Bruce Leonard wrote:I would claim on the contrary that there is precisely this danger, of randomness in art. I think investigation into the justification given for the building of certain modern buildings (consider for example the Beijing National Stadium) will support me in this. Tell me what is not random about a blank canvas? Or one smeared with feces? Or a “musical concert” of four minutes thirty three seconds in which no instrument is allowed to play? Or a shark in an aquarium filled with formaldehyde? You yourself have seen an exhibit of the “art” produced by bees. We have come to a point, 3u, in which we cannot simply let the matter rest at the common sense of six-year-olds, and unless we are willing to say with all due abandonment that anything goes in art, we must begin to attempt to understand if there are any natural limits to the artistic.3uGH7D4MLj wrote:I don't think there is a great danger of people defining random things as art, or mastodons for that matter.
Just because of a few well publicized (shocking) outliers lke the stuffed shark, don't think that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. There are millions of artists working full heartedly making art the best they can. Don't fence them in.
Some kind of limiting definition would be harmful to the art enterprise. I'm more than ever convinced of this after our discussion. And for the purposes of our conversation here, we do not need to formulate some kind of thoroughgoing and tedious definition before we can go further.
If you find no poetry in John Cage's 4'33", that's fine, but many people do. Are you going to bar that piece from the canon of Western Art?