Is it Art?

It has been observed (and even voiced) that artists no longer need to learn how to use the traditional skills of drawing, painting and sculpting. An unmade bed or even a till receipt can be bought at fantastic prices as long as they are presented as art. What persuades someone to buy a pile of elephant poo? What persuades a prestigous arts council to pay someone to produce a sculpture in salt and watch it dissolve as the tide rises?

The photo. shows the anonymous hand of the artist resting beside a finished work, which lived for a short time before it was disassembled to be reassembled at another location. The question was raised as the work was being created, “Is this art?” It is a shirt, washed but not ironed, partially buttoned in a very risqué manner, and suspended by its collar as if from the strong fist of an officer of the law.

At its next outing, will it be transformed? Perhaps it will lose its integrity by the previous use of an iron or by using different buttons... Will the artist hang it so that it modestly hides its initial full- frontal display or be completely buttoned up?

Is it art? Your opinions are invited for the next issue of The Easel. You may find an answer to the question “What is Art?” by refering to my work ‘Wasted Opportunity’ shown on the back cover of this issue!

Allan Davies