Quote Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith
There is good art and bad art, just as there is good and bad of everything else.
This reminds me of the old saw: "There are two kinds of people - the good ones and the bad ones - and the good ones will choose which is which."

It has been a long time on this quest, but the question of "What is art?" still ramins unanswered. I've heard a number of fairly good tries... but nothing really definitve... yet. I've reached the point where I do not WANT to know... If I succeed in defining it it just might disappear ... the basic mystery is an essential part of the whole.

I've written this before ... In *my* book, I am affected by "art" in three ways:
First, the works that 'enrapture' me - that set me off into an unreasonable, hypnotic trance. Second, the works that are "finely done", beautiful, expressive works skillfully worked... the pieces that I would hang in my living room. Third, the works *I* do not "get" - that I don't understand... no, that is not quite right ... there are many works of all stripes that I cannot rationalize - a.k.a. "understand". I'll try again - the works that *I* can't place in the two other categories.

I can't call any art "bad". I may not be "seeing" the work from the viewpoint - from the "mindset" of the artist. I remember once seeing a painting that was somehow deeply disturbing ... an incoherent "jumble" of sharp edges and garish colors, with no recognizable patterns. I later learned that it was painted by an artist deeply afflicted with paranoid schizophrenia ... and it was an expression of the terrifying demons that pervaded his existence ... and I could recognize it as desperate cry for help through the only means of communication left open to him. That did not make it a "good" work... but I saw it in a completly different "light" and perceived it as as having a completely different character.

I may not "like" a particular work... but I do not, and WILL not accept the delusion that I am somehow superior in some respect, and that I have the authority, or the superior wisdom to judge another's work. I don't even WANT that kind of responsiblity.

I once had a conversation with a self-styled critic. In *HIS* opinion (which everyone knew was superior to everyone else's - just ask him - he'd tell you), Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, Wyeth, Sargent, Winslow Homer, Ansel Adams, Weston ... NONE of them were artists - they were nothing but poseurs producing "sham" work, not worthy of the waste bucket. We probed more deeply, naming Cassat, Botticelli, Alma-Tadema, Waterhouse, Fragonard ... he knew their work ... ALL junk.
Finally, after a LOT of probing, we got him to tell us who he considered to be an "Artist" ... there was only one ... Norman Rockwell.

That led me to a profound sense of ... pity for this guy. He was so "bound" by his convictions, that he could no longer "see" beyond them. Rockwell was, no doubt, a significant artist - but he was certainly not the entire universe of art.

Photographers make "interesting" pictures. So do painters, watercolorists, those who work in pastels, charcoals, and pencil. The end result is "art". How it comes into being is only a minor, secondary bit of trivial information.