I have been reading a book by the french media theorist jean baudrillard called "the conspiracy of art" and let me say first that this is a great book...very interesting. So many things are filtering through my head while reading this book. One of the elements of this book that struck out at me was the idea that contemporary art is meaningless in part because there is no external means from which to critique it. When everything can be considered art, then is there anything that is art? In many ways I agree with this concept. It is extremely complicated to talk about art these days when so much falls under that category. I mean when someone can close themselves up in a store front window living there for a certain period of time and call that art, how can we judge what is art and what is well, exhibitionism or created for shock value?
I am finding that the older I get the more I understand the importance of having an external means from which to define things. Taking into account the fact that this means of adjudication must be flexible and open to a diversity of expressions there is a great need for art to have means of definition. I strongly believe that there is a different between something being artfully done and something being art. And yet I couldn't give a clear criteria for what differentiates the two, much like faith. I know that there are things that are TRUE in so strong a manner that everyone (baring the psycho and sociopathic) would agree were true. While we may not always live in accordance to these TRUTHS they are ingrained in our cultural psyche and ethos and have been ingrained in those of generations. We need something outside ourselves to create structure and order to life, we crave it. And I believe it is possible to enter into that while also allowing for some plasticity in how we construct it.