To me it seems there are two roads to "art"-- intention and acclaim.
Sometimes these two roads converge and run along the same harmonious way,
like an interstate and a state highway sharing the same concrete and traffic
for the most part flows smoothly. The artist and the audience both agree
THIS (whatever "this" is) IS ART!
At other times these two roads are estranged and may intersect at various
angles whereupon traffic signals, or "definitions," are thrown up as
defensive necessities. The artist says "This is art because I intended it to
be so" and the audience disagrees because it does not like or understand, or
it feels threatened by, the intention of the artist.
The audience in this case has three main components: the artists' community
(yes you CAN be on both roads at once), the academic community (those who
study and arbitrate but do not produce art), and the market (the rest of us
who may or may not like what we are told by the other two communities). It
is in this tripartite mix that definitions will be born. The artist's
intention alone stands no chance of survival and achieves only minimal
survival if but one of these three audience communities acclaims the
intention. If, however, the artist's intention can garner the acclaim of any
two of these three communities the intention will prosper; and if all three
communities acclaim the intention IS "art," then the intention will thrive
and become a definition of "art," where the roads have converged. Not all
this acclaim may happen smoothly, nor even with one conscious mind toward
that end. This is the way we recognize art, large-scale subjectivity, as a
process of politics and communications, never defined but always being
defined, roads we are willing to travel.
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