Is it art?

Started 1 month ago | Discussions thread
Gourownway Forum Member • Posts: 75
Re: Is it art?

Bob wrote:

One way to get your head around it is to go by the definition set forth in US and European copyright law.

There, a distinction is drawn between an “artistic work” and “artistic merit”. That is, all artistic works can be protected, regardless of artistic merit.

The law lists categories of works which are considered “artistic works”. These include painting, sculpture, woodcuts, and photographs.

So, by definition, any photograph, no matter how out of focus, underexposed, or poorly composed, is an “artistic work”.

The question, “is it art,” addresses “artistic merit”. Who can best assess artistic merit? Like anything else, experienced and trained people in the particular field.

That said, regardless of what an art critic might say, I still retain my own opinion and will just artistic merit according to my own views.

Is a nicely framed photo hanging in a museum art? It is indeed an artistic work. In addition, someone thought it also had artistic merit. Some would use the terms “art” and “artistic merit” as meaning the same thing. Others would use the terms “art” and “artistic work” as meaning the same thing. Hence the confusion.

Some argue that art has some form of transformatory power to evoke feelings and emotions in the viewer , certainly this was the position of Lewis Hyde in his book the gift, that and other characteristics about notions of whether art could be owned.
Also Susan Sontag wrote with some energy on photography and suggested the force of photographic images which are continually inserted between experience and reality. Sontag develops further the concept of 'transparency'. When anything can be photographed and photography has destroyed the boundaries and definitions of art, a viewer can approach a photograph freely with no expectations of discovering what it means.

You might also argue that we are supersaturated with visual imagery , smartphones , social media etc means the digital image is commonplace, especially as compared with analogue days. The accessibility of digital media may mean that fewer look critically at an image, what it might be trying to say, the mood and emotions that are suggested.

A long way from dictionary definitions I know, but your question is a fascinating one and very hard to answer definitively.

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