Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I’ve always been interested in the question of what art, or Art, is or isn’t. Certainly there are loads of things presented as art that many of us would consider more in the category of crap. Now I don’t have a good definition for Art, but in my view, it has to say something.

It’s conceivable that you could find some junk in a dumpster, put it on a pedestal, and it would be art. But it would have to be junk that, at least in the context of sitting on that pedestal, gets a response from people experiencing it. Oh, and that response has to be something more than “Hey, cool piece of junk on a pedestal!”

More specifically, it has to say something about our human-ness. An organization chart says something. It says “Look who’s boss!” But that’s not art. At least, it’s not capital A Art.

I’m reading Walter What’s-his-face’s biography of Steve Jobs, and I’m struck by how frequently he refers to Jobs as both an artist and a technologist.

Steve Jobs was certainly a rare and gifted individual, but ...

Some years ago, I had the good fortune to see the late George C. Scott starring in Death of a Salesman. I’ve seen a lot of plays and musicals, of course, but this is the only time I remember the audience being too stunned to applaud during the curtain call. Seriously. The curtain call was half over before people started clapping, and I’m sure it was because they, like me, were completely in shock. (Post-dramatic stress disorder?) We felt we had just come face to face with TRUTH ... with incredible insight about the characters in the play, but also about everyone, everywhere. How we spend our lives pursuing dreams, often failing because of our own shortcomings, but always holding on to the phantasm of utter fulfillment. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

Now THAT was Art.

But a cool looking iPod?

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