What is Art?

What is Art?

One of my guilty pleasures is a fun book that I enjoy, even if it is far from great, The Guns of Two-Space by Dave Grossman and Bob Hudson. One thing that shines through in that book and its predecessor are a love of poetry and beauty.

From TGoTS – the second book –

It violates the First Law of Art, Carmack’s Law, which says, ‘If I can do it, it’s not art.’ How many years of art school did you have to go to to learn to splash paint on a canvas like that? If someone studies music for four years, they walk away with an ability to play an instrument and can do something I could never do or imitate. But you walk away with an art degree, and the best you can do is this? Something any fool can imitate? This is the best ya got? ‘If I can do it, it ain’t art!’ And the price tag! Ten thousand dollars for that? Oh, so you know so much about art, eh? Then you buy the freaking thing! And you, dammit, get some clothes on that man! What the hell’s that supposed to be? Performance art? Performance art! Squirting those substances into that orifice has not been approved by the surgeon general! Oh, and now you’re gonna light it, eh? Betcha think that’s clever? Ha! I’ve seen better around any campfire when the boys have been eating beans! I know an artist has to suffer for his art, but why do we have to?”

Vodi’s monkey was enjoying the harangue immensely, reinforcing key comments with the occasional “Eek!” as it kept a careful watch in all directions. Periodically the creature would whip an arm out with blinding speed to snag an olive from a passing martini or an hors d’oeuvre from a tray or a hand.

With the exception of the “performing artist” the artsy folks were all dressed in black. (Which Vodi claimed was really about personal cleanliness, or lack thereof.) They had been happily grazing along, maintaining serious expressions no matter what kind of drivel they were viewing in the name of “art.” Now someone was calling their bluff, and one of the sheep bleated in response, “Well, you just don’t get it.”

Vodi was beginning to wind down, but this last remark ran fingernails down the blackboard of her soul. “And that violates the Second Law of Art, Elantu’s Law,” she replied with renewed vigor, cutting off the recalcitrant sheep and herding it back into the flock, “which says, ‘If the artist has to explain what it means, then it’s not art.’ It’s not art, it’s a failure. Instead of universal symbolism or universal language, it’s gibberish. Or a con job!”

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.