Many people say to me, “Briggs, how can I tell what is art, and what is not art?”
Easy, my friends. The art would is large and complex. But telling art from mundane objects is simple once you learn my system.
First find an object, then compare that object with this checklist. Is the object…?
All three criteria must be met for a work to be true art, though any two are sufficient for ordinary art.
Let’s do some examples!
This is “Anish Kapoor with his 1992 Turner Prize installation”, which fetches ghastly amounts of money.
This is a styrofoam ball from Hobby Lobby. Less than $1.
This is the Turner-prize winning entry from Grenville Davey. It’s value is priceless.
This is a plastic bowl from Party City. Less than $1.
This is the Turner-prize winning entry from Anish Kapoor. If you have to ask, you cannot afford it.
This is a set of decorative sand from Amazon. Costs about $5.
This is a banana made from duct tape, which doubles as a pencil case. It was given as a gift by the creator. It has no value.
Only Ordinary Art
This is Daniel Garber, Hawk’s Nest, 1917 Oil on Canvas, 132.1 x 142.2 cm Cincinnati Art Museum Cincinnati, Ohio. Garber’s work at least level might fetch anywhere in the neighborhood of $150,000-$300,000.
So this is lauded and expensive: but it is not ugly. Therefore it is not genuine art.
Try It Yourself!
As you can see in these examples, the method is flawless.
Each piece of genuine art was unspeakably ugly, stupid, insipid, or asinine, and sometimes all of these at once.
Each was beyond the means of the vast majority of the population. Only fools, the deluded, or genuine art lovers would pay such ruinous sums for these creations.
And each was lauded by either art critics or superior juries whose business it is to know real art from fake.
Whereas each other object, while being almost the exact duplicates, or even improvements of the genuine art, was not as ugly, not praised or sung about, and could be found at most of your better dollar stores.
Try it out! Find in public twisted blobs of metal. You could be near a construction site or garbage dump, or you could be witnessing sculpture, which is also art. Or locate a building with despairing angles, depressing coverings, and that looks like it’s about to topple. You could be near a shack ready to turn to dust. Or you could be viewing architecture, which is another kind of art.
Try it! You will see that my method never fails. Report your results below.
Bonus test! This reminds me of my youth. Art or not?
Finished the second part of Little Women. Really quite beautiful. I particularly enjoyed the scene of Jo learning German better by fairy tales than by Grammar books!
Is it fairly clear that Alcott just made a chronological mistake by declaring Jo 25 at a certain point?
— Innocent Smith, op (@InnocentOP) December 9, 2019
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