WhatIsArt?

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WhatIsArt?

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According to Wikipedia, Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.[1][2] In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

I like to think of art very broadly, in such a way that almost anything can be considered art. I know that this is not the only way to think of it though, and I understand that some people think of art quite narrowly or at least in a more limited sense than I.

There are some that don’t believe the nineties’ performer Gigi Allin to have been an artist. Gigi, whose real name was Jesus Christ Allin, “played” music, was arrested many times, ate human feces on stage, and died an early death. You might read this, and especially if you already know of Allin, and disagree immediately with the contention that Gigi was not an artist. You would be thinking that, of course he was an artist, he recorded music. I would agree that he was an artist, not that his art was suited for me, but I point out that Chuck Klosterman, former columnist for Spin magazine and current author, does not believe Mr. Allin to have been an artist.

If you are like me and believe that almost anything COULD be art, drawing the line in the sand can be difficult. In December, 2015, Martin Skreli, the guy that jacked up the price of that AIDS drug, called his entire public persona a work of art and social experiment. This is an interesting contention.

If art is a human activity expressing the author’s skill, intended to be appreciated for its emotional power, then ostensibly, Mr. Skreli’s public persona is at least plausibly a work of art. Keep in mind that art often causes people who experience it to have visceral reactions.

Consider the possibility that Mr. Skreli is so committed to his art form he is willing to smirk in the face of Congress while giving testimony in an effort to make his craft more powerful. Perhaps his aim is to convince the general public of the depravity of big pharma and that he is willing to be the target of the public’s hatred. Maybe he is willing to be despised so long as he is able to call attention to the issue of exorbitant prescription prices.

I do not agree that Skreli is an artist. It is hard to deny similarities between Skreli and Gigi Allin; if Allin was an artist because he created music, maybe I’m in denial about Skreli, who marshaled much of America, including Congress, against him due to an emotionally powerful set of circumstances set into action by him.


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