Callum and I had an interesting chat today about what constitutes ‘art’.
I think my artistic tastes stalled a bit before the year of my birth. Some more modern pieces slip through the net and impress or move, but not many. Give me a Monet or a Van Gogh every time. Callum’s tastes are those of an engineer – he knows what he likes and a plain white canvas or a bicycle wheel mounted on a stool is not it. And, what’s more: It. Isn’t. Art.
The dictionary definition of art is basically something produced to be appreciated primarily for its beauty or emotional power. Even by that definition I was finding some of the works in the Museum of Modern Art hard to justify to Callum. That said, there were more than enough Monets and Van Goghs to satisfy us all and to demonstrate the positive definition of art.
The thing that really moved us today was Times Square. Now there’s a place built to be appreciated and full of emotional power (as well as electrical power). For all of us Times Square was something to be experienced and then evacuated as soon as possible. Between the noise, the milling crowds and the omnipresent flashing lights it’s worth visiting for a dystopian vision of the modern world – and in that sense it’s certainly almost an artwork in itself.
But like Callum, I know what I like. And Times Square isn’t it.