I asked my students, “What is art?”
This wasn’t a question I thought we’d answer satisfactorily. I don’t teach art anyway. I teach ESL. But the chapter in our reading textbook was on art.
My students are not artists. Most of them have never been to an art museum or gallery. They don’t know any artists. A few of them have never bought any art nor do they hang any art on the walls of their apartments. It’s interesting to get the perspective of individuals who don’t think much about art.
Several students could not get past the prices for certain works of art. They focused on famous works of art that have sold for 40 million dollars and more. I found it difficult to get them stop thinking about the money. The art business is different than the art.
One student said he didn’t think anyone would go through the trouble to make anything if he wasn’t going to be paid for it. Another student tried to explain passion.
A few students liked the Jackson Pollock painting I showed them, but the majority were baffled at best. How was it art to splash paint around and not have it look like anything?
How would you answer that?
What kind of art do you like? What is art?