What is art about?

Another preview page from forthcoming artists' book.

Another preview page from forthcoming artists’ book.

A few more thoughts and comments that haven’t made it directly into the final book. This time on the role of art.

First in response to the particular object (Lijn‘s sculpture):

It’s a questioning object, opening up other things to think about rather than an aesthetic inspirational object.

I don’t think you’re supposed to know what it is. We don’t know what things are in life.

First thoughts. It’s obscure. I am going to betray some prejudices…I think it’s too easy to be obscure, so I am sceptical.

It’s a question then of whether it works to create some impression in the observer that has some emotional impact. And I am not sure it does, in me at least.

…about the role of art in general:

I think it’s necessary. It’s not life or death necessary, but you can see people coming together. 

We should have the attitude that art, science and literature should be part of everybody’s life. If not practicing you should at least have ability to look at it and enjoy regularly.

The first thing a work of art asks is “do you like me or do you not like me?” The second is: “why do you like me, why do you not?” It’s easy to ignore the second question but it’s hard to ignore the first.

If art’s only for one thing it’s for thinking. If it makes people think then it’s got to be good.

We can say all sorts of fancy stuff about art but it’s about having something good to look at or listen to, to smell or to chew.

Art definitely has a monetary value, overinflated. But there are various values in society, the making of art helps with mental issues. People make things and it releases something. Also there’s value in creating dialogue.

To me I would value the emotional aspect of it. What I don’t like is the art world of pretence and rather showy stuff that goes on because it’s exclusive and elitist and all that sort of thing.

People create works for a variety of reasons. One of them is purely personal. That they have a strong desire to create stuff, express something personal or about the outside world and knowledge they have about how things work. Sometimes they’re trying to make a statement. Sometimes it’s purely an element of wanting to create something really beautiful or stunning that sticks in people’s minds.

Art can be functional, it can be public benches, it can be wallpaper, utensils or furniture. Or it can be Henry Moore sculpture, something that’s completely not functional that’s interesting or nice to look at. Maybe not even nice to look at. It’s there and it’s making a statement.

I don’t necessarily make the distinction between art and design, I can see beauty in a lot of the things around us.

and some thoughts about the accessibility of art, or lack of.

I’ve lived in Leeds for 10 years in Leeds, but only stepped into the gallery 2 or 3 times. I find that a bit sad. I am frequently in the area but there’s nothing to draw me in.

I will pass this place way more times than I come in, I am ashamed to say whole exhibitions come and go and don’t pop head in door.

We’re always wanting people to come in to art spaces who feel very uncomfortable and don’t feel they belong….The whole process so negative in terms of inviting people in who don’t understand white cube spaces.

Art has become far too esoteric….the rationale behind paintings you can’t understand unless you read up about it. It’s a ridiculous situation where you’ve got a painting but a lengthy explanation….I think art is about emotional impact and if you make it too intellectual you loose something.

I think it’s financially driven…I’d like to see art handled better in terms of corporations that just slap bits of sculpture in their entrance annoys me and councils who spend an inordinate amount of money on something that’s uninspiring. I think there could be better ways.