What is art?
Merriam Webster’s dictionary links “art” with the word “skill” in every one of its definitions. It says art is only a correct or extraordinary use of a set of skills, sometimes exhibited in a creative or imaginative way.
There is no mention of beauty or emotion or the way in which we react to the modern conception of what art is.
This broad definition of the word leaves much room for debate, and it’s a question that has sparked conflict among those who appreciate art.
Take, for example, Andre Serrano’s infamous photo- graph “Piss Christ,” a photo of a plastic crucifix in a jar of urine. Someone was obviously moved enough by the piece to exhibit it just as much as another was moved to destroy it in April 2011.
By this example, I think we can all agree that art, in whatever shape or form it takes, is linked with our emotions. It stirs within us feelings of sadness, joy, or rage. We take in art through our sensory faculties and interpret and react differently. Art is individual, and it is powerful.
Art is often linked to the word “beauty.” If we believe art is meant to be beautiful and not an entirely utilitarian pastime, then beauty must also be individual.
Great. So we can agree to disagree what qualifies as beautiful or what qualifies as art? Wrong. I believe the source of debate today is what we now call “high art” or “fine art.”
As The Collegian Arts Editor this year, I sought to explore and showcase different facets of art others may not consider “high” or “fine.” We wrote pieces this year on fa- cial hair, cupcakes, corset making, and beer. We also wrote on violin players, painters, sculptors, and actors.
It was my goal to let you all think of art a little differ- ently and to realize there is not much difference between all these different forms of art. Beauty can be realized in senior Josh Koczman’s mustache just as much as it can in a gor- geous cocktail dress designed by senior Maxine D’Amico. And this isn’t to say that either art from is degraded through the comparison. Both make me say, “Wow, that’s awe- some,” and I mean that in the true sense of the word.
I can recognize the pride our students take in their work and the passion they exude. That is why everything shown in the Arts section this year is a work of art. We relate the the passions our peers have, we recognize the beauty in these works, and passions of our own are instilled within us.
Art is not just skill. It is so much more. Thank you for reading this section and exploring with me the awe-inspiring art that exists in our community.