I wonder if a blog is an art site? More to the point, I wonder if my own blog is one?
A blog (shortened from “Web Log“) is a web site for commentary written by anyone; you the reader can leave comments or start a discussion on this blog and on any of the more than 112 million other sites worldwide.
I didnt want a blog; blogs are too much work. I had told everyone I know that I was not going to commit to writing regular entries for one. That said, regular readers know I wrote an op-ed column for a number of years. This blog, with a new piece due online ever Monday, has forced me to do that again.
Is it art or is it crap with a price tag?
Oh. Wait. This is free.
Leo Tolstoy, a writer whose expansive, never-ending words were art, wrote in an essay published in 1896, “In order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. Viewing it in this way we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man…
“Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.”
I write on an eclectic range of topics. You’ll find big thoughts here on everything from banking and books, to charity and death, to teaching and Zen, four or five hundred words at a time.
Potter Stewart wrote about an entirely different art, “I know it when I see it.”
Perhaps these essays are indeed art.
Tolstoy’s words seem to mislead slightly — although it is perhaps merely an artifact of excerpting.
Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.
The feeling I get from his words is that he is inferring a hard wire from the artist’s feelings to the feelings of the perceiver, and yet the Art world has demonstrated time and again that we each draw our own feelings from the work of the Artist.
It can only be thus. We always filter what we see and hear through our experiences and emotions. While there can be a direct emotional conduit from thee — via splotches of paint or spilling of ink — to me, the very path often alters the emotion.
Damn, that’s good. I should start a blog.
I am late responding to this issue because I wanted to digest the poignant words of gekko. Perhaps everything she says is true…I don’t know.
I’ve been to the Lourve (look it up) in Paris and seen Mona Lisa, David and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. I’ve visited Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum and ponder The Night Watch. Across town I graced the entrance of Van Gogh’s museum and admired his work. I’ve been to Pompey and seen the pornographic wall scribbling and even trudged up the inside of Piza’s Leaning Tower. I never failed to be impressed, but for the life of me I cannot say why. Perhaps the antiquity.
Closer to home I visited Joe Bob Daily’s odd house which is made entirely from hubcaps and beer cans. Some of the beer cans were brands I drank in bygone days, and I saw a few hubcaps I recognized. I remember thinking, how the heck did he do that?
Is that being hard wired? Mebbe.
I love art–whatever we decide it is–and I respect the talent and thoughts of those who produce it. But I’m not too keen on Tolstoy’s feelings about *intercourse between man and man*. I’ll have to think on that.
I apologize to Dick for not addressing his implied question as to whether a blog is art or not. All my talk about beer cans and piza made me hungry and I left the forum to eat.
But, as to the question, I hardly think it is. Oh, mebbe in the same way that a half finished painting hangs in a charity booth at a street fair where passers-by are invited to add a brush stroke or two for a few bucks. The people come along and add their two cents for the cost of two dollars, and finally the picture takes on a Picasso look where it originally was intended to be a bowl of wax fruit.
So, when the fair is over, a crew of Mexicans comes in to dismantle the booth; and the owner tosses the picture atop the rest of the scrap on the pickup truck. It has served its purpose.
That’s analogous to most blogs where the suject drifts away in comments and bears no resemblance to the blog owner’s intent. Like this.
Some, however, will argue that the very spontaneity and expression of the artist(s) make the picture “art”. –and as such, a valuable artifact that should be preserved for future fairground visitors to see and admire.
Tell it to the Mexicans.