What is art? A collection of resources
“What’s the impulse behind art? It’s saying in whatever language is the language of your work, “If I could move you as much as it moved me … if I can move anyone a tenth as much as that moved me, if I can spark the same sense of mystery and awe and surprise as that sparked in me, well that’s why I do what I do.”Greil Marcus on the essence of art.
In this collection of resources, Leon Botstein kicks us off as he asks ‘What is art?’…and then answers…
…and you can continue learning with Leo as he discusses the difference between art and aesthetics.
‘Art Is…’ Haiku Deck to think about what art mean to you.
What is art and how do our students construct their own definition? An interesting, and somewhat confusing clip gets you thinking…
And from Maria Popova on her fantastic site, Brain Pickings, comes these gems…and there’s many more where these came from!
Art is not a thing – it is a way. Elbert Hubbard
Art is the most intense mode of individualism the world has ever know. Oscar Wilde
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton
‘The Dot’ is a great story to share with students – it’s all about creative risk-taking, confidence in art-making and the journey towards a personal definition of art.
A new project, titled “Art Is,” gives Hongkongers the power to define art—with their cameras.
When I first saw the images from this exhibition, I instantly had about twenty lesson ideas in my head to enhance the ‘What is art?’ activities in my classroom. I’m sure there will be a post for this soon, but in the meantime, check out the article from Charlotte Rea…
“Who is to say what is art?” asks Chow. “You’re not meant to put a label on it. It’s meant to be freedom of expression and we want to make sure it’s kept that way.” To bring that message to the public, the two created the “Art Is” project.
“Art Is” hopes to extend public awareness about what art can be, by allowing people to define it themselves. It’s no abstract exercise: at its heart are the small pink “Art Is” frames. They’re free and easily held up to the world. “We’re asking the public to fill in the blank with their own point of view and their own interpretation,” says Chow. “The frames create one constant—everything else you put in it is yours.” Frame what you want and take a photo: presto, instant art.
The campaign relies on the power of social media to draw the public into the conversation, encouraging people to use the frames in Facebook posts and Instagram pictures, tagging them #ArtIsHK.
While it’s not affiliated with any of the month’s art fairs, its founders hope the momentum that Art Basel and co. have garnered will help the project to flourish. But they don’t want it to end when the exhibitions do. “This is something we want to carry on,” says Chow, “Something that people can keep thinking about, keep in their lives, and let them ponder what role art plays in their lives.”
And there’s one more purpose for the project: the want to bring photos from the campaign to LegCo members, and show them just how many ways there are to define art in the city. They’re even open to an exhibition of “Art Is” photos in the future. Art defining what art is, hung in an art gallery? Now that’s art. ” Charlotte Rea
And lastly, if you are new to teaching, this is a good little lesson plan for teaching middle school students. Rather than starting with a definition of art, this kind of activity allows students to explore their own thoughts and construct meaning as they delve deep into the question, ‘What is Art?’.
If you liked this post, check out our this article, ‘Are we thinking of art all wrong?‘
Thanks Cathy for this great post. Hard to find resources that aren’t really dry for this topic. the Haiku Deck is a great idea. We like to put them into iMOve and add sound etc.
Also liked the ‘Big Think’ clip – can’t believe I missed those. Have subscribed to their You Tube channel and wasted half a day already. Maybe not wasted, but you know what I mean. Great find thanks.
We love Big Think and Botstein too. Have you seen the PBS Ideas Channel? We’ve got some slips on the site, but every week there’s another great idea starter…