Art as Expression Essay
Art as Expression
The question of what art is cannot be properly answered without asking why art is. Prior to the advent of the written language, art was used as a means of communication, and in some ways, written language is in its own regard, art. Art, then, must be an expression of meaning by the artist, or potentially by the client that artist created the artwork for, but this assumption is altogether too broad.
Art is not exclusively a private expression because it is left open to interpretation by the individual who looks upon it, and as such art can then be categorized as the representation through a variety of mediums, of whatever the beholder or artist thinks it should be. Which poses a greater question – is something art if the individual who designed it had no intended message? Or visa versa – is something art if the consumer of the artform does not perceive any message?
I was at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art about a two years ago, and they had some very abstract pieces on display, all of which brought forth in me at least some semblance of a response, except for a piece by Robert Rauschenberg, call White Painting [three panel], that began a philosophical debate between my brother and I because I refused to call the “painting” art. To me, there was no way to interpret the three panels of white, they were simply empty canvases that Rauschenberg sold for substantially more than he bought them for.
No soul, or emotion went into the piece and as I understand art, that does not qualify as any more than a man playing a abstraction crazy consumer culture for the fool. To backtrack, art in my eyes is the true expression of an artist to the consumer, for the purpose of provocation; art has to make something well up in a person, even if it is not enjoyment, even if it is sorrow, or anger.
Art is the way we have always talked to each other as people, and the pure aesthetic painters and songwriters of the last century do not produce art. Art is emotion and passion mixing into something for others to partake in; there is no private art, there is only art that no one else has applied their own perceptions to yet.