Thursday, February 4, 2010

Barn Quilts are Art

I interject the following to provoke thought ...

elitism and elitist - The belief that certain persons deserve favored treatment by virtue of their superior artistic or intellectual accomplishments, or because of some other real or perceived status. People and things reach various levels of achievement, of success, and for better or worse, people judge the qualities of other people and things. But elitism is a tendency to codify levels of artistic sophistication into a hierarchical system that some would call pretentiously exclusionary, and others realistic. Elitism is the sense of entitlement that follows from this attitude, and the control or dominance by a group of elitists — the people who take this view of their position. Elitism always elicits aesthetic questions about defining art, who is an authority about it, and what that means for people who aren't.

Elitism in the art world is the insistence that art is somehow out of the realm of common experience, that its pleasures are not available to everyone. It has become increasingly necessary to read texts (artists' statements, wall labels or plaques, articles of art criticism, etc.) in order to understand certain works of art, but this is what great contemporary art does: It advances through ideas, by engaging our minds. Art galleries, because their offerings are commodities, are invariably commercial enterprises, but they are among the only places where the public can see art free of charge. Museums serve comparable roles as a community's storehouse of art, exhibiting works to their visitors, educating visitors to the works' significance, garnering support in ways unlike the galleries'. Wherever encounters with art occur, they always demand the viewer's attention and receptivity. Failure to embrace those opportunities are at least, simply that: losses of opportunities, significant as those can be.

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