When the 'a' in Arts is capitalized, most think of visual arts, film-making/television, writing, music, architecture, theatre/dance and so on. I do. Even when the 'a' isn't capitalized, "art" conjures lots of assumptions: beatniks, museums, bearded guys painting church ceilings, long-lost field recordings from long-suffering, one-armed avant-garde kettle-drummists. Yes, drummists. That's art.

But lately I've been thinking; why is this art? Or more accurately, why is only this Art? Journalists get a special creative license to call very gifted tradesmen "artists;" shouldn't this be the norm, though?

I don't want to go off on one of my preachy rants. Think about this, though--I don't think "art" should be flippantly applied to anything; packaging a Big Mac and letting gravity pull it down the 30-inch metal shoot to rest amongst its warm fellows isn't what I call art. But I think an artist isn't a self-appointed position limited to writers and guys with video cameras and paintbrushes; artists can make chairs for a living, plant a field of wheat, raise children, fly a kite or even--since this concerns me greatly--encourage 150 degree microfoam to land a certain way on two ounces of espresso, causing the two to mingle and dance into a rolling pattern of honey brown and off-white.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 9/29/2006 10:34:00 PM,


At 9:49 AM, Blogger Qere Ketiv said...

I recommend reading Seerveld's Rainbows for a Fallen World and Berry's Art of the Commonplace for some food for thought on this topic.

A lot of "art" is about respect. A mass production culture has difficulty with art and tends to marginalize it because the rest of life (morning breakfast, the product at work, family devotions and play time, etc.) is done without any care or thought. If we respected these "small" things, they would be artful, even if journalists didn't label them so. In that case, stop reading the journalists, make them turn their trade into a God-glorifying, worth-reading art.

At 8:58 PM, Blogger Buddy Chamberlain said...

I think when you describe the loving yet speedy and efficient christmas-like enwrapping of a well grilled slice of disease-free cow carefully cushoined by two fluffy bits of white bread with just the right scattering of sesame seeds on the top, and a color-balanced blend of condiments and toppings within a slightly waxy, yet easy to handle, warpping paper, and then sending it speedily on it's short but exciting jouney down a carefully engineered chute to rest with a cadre of similar burgers until the predestined time when it will be plucked up, quickly added to a bag or tray, and have it's perfection announced with a thunderous shout of "Order 155!", it might be art. Or I might be tired.


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