And now it's time for the irregularly scheduled rants about art by the art (or at least art academia) illiterate: ME!
Today I want to write about art and application or the notion that if something with practical use can't be art. As usual this has to do something I encountered fairly recently. Namely I asked someone on the internetz, who held this notion, what he thought about the artistic merit of architecture*.
This was admittedly a loaded question as I thought it up to demonstrate a paradox:
1) Architecture was always an accepted branch of art. (it's not saying all is art, as paintings or novels aren't all art either)
2) Art can't have any practical function.
- But architecture (buildings) almost always has a distinct function (shelter from the elements, social gathering place, whatnot). The two statements contradict each other.
Let's examine them separately. And I will go the art history route because I'm a bit less clueless about that:
1) is an old established principle so much that we even identify some art periods by their architecture. If we would redefine art without architecture we would have to rewrite academia from the ground up. (Not practical is an understatement)
2) seems to be a pretty widespread notion but as far as I can see fairly new, as it seems to originate around Romanticism so 18th-19th century**, before that artist and artisan were basically the same (many times scientist, occultist, etc. were fairly close terms too). Also it's a heavily contested idea. There were whole art movements not agreeing like Art Nouveau. Or it would also question the artistic merit of folk art (as many of those works are artisan crafts). I think I'm safe to assume that with this much evidence to the contrary statement 2) can't be considered a hard rule in determining artistic merit.
Rant over... I know I sometimes don't make much sense. Previously in this segment:
Fifty Shades of Fanfic: [link]
And Art is...: [link]
* If someone is interested his answer was "Yes, but no" as he only considers the sculptures, cathedral windows, and other ornaments art, while the building itself is clearly not art. He also seemed to hold the True Art Is Ancient tenet.
** along with notions like "artistic genius" and "sheltered childhood"