• Standards of art are centuries old
    July 25,2013
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    I am amused by those letter writers who defend the “sculptures” presently residing in Main Street Park by saying “art is in the eyes of the beholder.” To attach the phrase “art is in the eye of the beholder” to an object is nothing more than an act of kindness toward the creator. It’s far kinder than “you’ve got to be kidding.” The fact is there are standards to be met before an object can be called “art.” Those standards are well established and centuries old.

    Years ago my son brought home a clay ashtray he had modeled in the third grade. My eyes beholded it. I thought it was wonderful. I thought its asymmetry abstract and its application creative genius. I thought his enthusiasm for the piece was indicative of a budding artistic sensibility. In fact, it was none of those things. It was just a hunk of clay that he had roughly shaped and decided to call an ashtray. He could just as easily have called it “The Battle of Hubbardton.”

    The fact is we all know what is art and what is not. We know it instinctively when we see it. I would ask “beholderists” would you look at a sculpture by Rodin, Henry Moore, Degas or Calder and say, “Oh, well, art is in the eye of the beholder”? Somehow, I don’t think so.


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