The art of defining “art”


Visiting the “Museum of Modern Arts” while visiting New York this fall break was my last choice, and there was a reason. I’m not a museum-going person, and moreover, after going to New York, I didn’t want to waste my time by going to museums, and that too of modern arts. Though I am interested in arts, and I also paint, but still the idea of going there wasn’t exciting at all. But after reading the “outstanding reviews” of the place, I decided to give it a try. What I learnt from going there was totally unexpected. I always thought of art as something that can be used to express the human thoughts and emotions visually, but I realized I was wrong. What I saw in MOMA was entirely different. Even the minutest details were presented artistically, but that wasn’t art. The art was behind the creation of those objects, paintings, sculptures, and everything there. It was the way they were created and showed to the world. That day I learned, art is not a thing – it is a way.

maybe this also!

How best to define the term “art” has been a subject of constant contention; many books and journal articles have been arguing over even the basics of what we mean by the term “art”. Furthermore, even the basic meaning of the term “art” has changed several times over the centuries, and is still evolving. The main recent sense of the word “art” is roughly as an abbreviation for creative art or fine art. Here I mean the skill is being used to express the artist’s creativity, or to engage the audience’s aesthetic sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards consideration of the “finer” things. Often, if the skill is being used in a functional object, people will consider it a “craft” instead of art, a suggestion which is highly disputed by many Contemporary Art thinkers (Wikipedia). Likewise, if the skill is being used in a commercial or industrial way it may be considered design instead of art, or these may be defended as art forms, and called applied arts. Some philosophers have argued that the difference between fine art and applied art has more to do with the actual function of the object than any clear definitional difference. Art usually implies no function other than to convey or communicate an idea. But in my opinion, the term “art” has a much more meaningful meaning behind it.

Elbert Hubbard, in a 1908 volume of Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Teachers, said that “Art is not a thing – it is a way”. It is not just an imagination or a way of expressing your emotions. People who just see the visual aspect of the art totally ignores the process behind the creation. They choose to see what is visible to their eyes, rather than how it is created. The proof of this is the categorization of the art forms in 21st century. When I started exploring different art forms, I found the most popular art forms to be:







Performance Art




New Media

All of these art forms deal with visual aspect of the term “art”. This categorization only shows what people think of when they hear the word “art”, all thanks to the media publications, according to which the contemporary art encompasses many different art forms, from traditional media such as paintings and drawings to more recently developed approaches that use digital and time-based media to create works that incorporate both sound and image. But as Elbert Hubbard said, art is not a thing – it is a way.

Let’s change the perspective and consider the definitions of art given by the philosophers, writers and artists. According to Oscar Wilde, “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.” One of the greatest artist of all time, Michelangelo, himself agreed that above all, artists must not be present only in art galleries or museums – they must be present in all possible activities. The artist must be the sponsor of thought in whatever endeavor people take on, at every level. This is what “art” is all about. Even the simplest thing we do in our everyday lives has a process to it. This process consists of our way of doing things in a certain way and makes use of our imagination, emotions, and feelings. The way we perform to create anything is “art”. That is what I realized in the Museum of Modern Arts. The way they created and presented their masterpieces and then let people visualize and interpret it in their own way is the very true nature of “art”; the use of imagination and emotions in everything we do, even in thinking. “Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity”, concluded Leo Tolstoy in his essay “What is Art?”.

At this point, the reader may be thinking “So everyone is an artist in this world.” Yes, that is true. Every person in this world is a unique representation of himself; everyone has different feeling, emotions, and imaginations, and so is the way of doing things. Their way of living in this world defines the term “art”, and if everyone is an artist, and the way we do things is similar to painting on the canvass, then we surely have the power to paint our own life the way we want to.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

-Thomas Merton

This is “art”

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Sensation!

1.2 million Youtube views for the new trailer in just a day. Epic conclusion of the legend promised. Christopher Nolan directing.

What else can a die-hard Dark Knight fan or a Christopher Nolan fan want? 🙂

Though Avengers is the feast in theaters nowadays, Christopher Nolan reminded us again that the best is yet to come.

“There is a storm coming,” says Selina Kyle to Bruce Wayne as the trailer opens up. When Wayne comments that she seems to be looking forward to the storm, Selina replies, “I’m adaptable.”

The new trailer gives a better perspective on the evilness of Bane.

When defeated Wayne lies on the ground helplessly and asked Bane why he didn’t kill him, Bane answers, “your punishment must be more severe.”

The 140-second trailer also features a mid-air plane heist by Bane, Wayne and Kyle dancing, sinking football field, Bane’s henchmen holding up a stock exchange, Gotham citizens witnessing two bridges blown, Wayne locking lips and more….actually much more than that!

But what will be the legendary conclusion that Christopher Nolan is promising?

In the original comic book series, Bane broke Batman’s back and the caped crusader had to be replaced. Some are wondering if Batman actually dies. And that some includes me too. What if the Batman really dies? That would be an epic conclusion, if not perfect for the batman lovers.

But we’ll have to just wait and see till 20th July, coz thats when “The Dark Knight Rises’ hit theaters.

Fight Club

The breaths are heavy,

But mind is light,

Beats are fast,

From the fight,

Blood rushing down,

All over the face,

Cuts in pride,

With no disgrace,

Legs crying aloud,

Never been so lame,

Hands on their own,

I couldn’t even tame,

Everything settled,

But nothing is same,

Mind satisfied,

Even without any fame,

Its worth everything,

Though just a game,

Living as hard I can,

The day may never come again…

Hit in the mouth,

The sound of cheer,

Better than any stripper,

With a glass full of beer,

Nothing to lose,

And nothing to gain,

Materialistic possessions,

All in vain,

The fist in stomach,

Making me smile,

Forgot the routine,

For a while,

The punch thrown,

The crowd blew away,

This is they want,

All of them say,

Everything settles,

But nothing is same,

Mind satisfied,

Even without any fame,

Its worth everything,

Though just a game,

Living as hard I can,

The day may never come again…

“It’s only after that we have lost everything that we are free to do anything.”

The Dark Knight Rises…Epic!

“Madness is like gravity, all it needs is a little… push.”

The Dark Knight was madness, epic madness for some! Heath Ledger as ‘The Joker‘ made it legendary. Now comes the Dark Knight Rises. But without “JokeR”. The great movie minds will be ready to hit the red button and say that the previous one was better…as always. But is this about those minds? Or about our entertainment? I guess I’m being selfish…but its for our personal fun. Do we need the other person to tell us how is the movie? No. Enough now…lets get back to the Dark Knight Rises.

Well, the ‘James Bond’ of directors, Mr. Christopher Nolan is coming back with another awesome movie (hope so!), the Dark Knight Rises. Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the terrorist leader Bane arrives in Gotham City, pushing it and its police force to their limits, forcing its former hero Batman to resurface after taking the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes.

So their will be a new hero, oops… villain! Heath Ledger was of course the hero, don’t know about this one. The trailer looks awesome, sounds awesome, and the pre-released part of the movie of the so-called prologue has some real action going on.

In the end, we can only hope to see it as soon as possible. We will obviously miss the Joker. But come on, we’ve got a new one! As Christopher Nolan is claiming it, the movie will be an epic ending to the Dark Knight series. And we know, he doesn’t make false promises 😉

“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”