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[Vectr Weekly #19] What is art?

An illusive definition...
December 2 · Issue #19 · View online
Vectr Weekly
An illusive definition…

A question: what is art?
Why do certain paintings become famous and fetch millions of dollars while the vast majority do not?
Take Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh.
It depicts the village of Saint-Remy under a swirling sun and stars. Beautiful? Sure. $50 or $60 million? Not so sure.
Or  Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring.”
Often called the Dutch Monalisa, the pearl earring seems unusually prominent and the expression of the girl difficult to pin down. So is it the fact that it evokes a similar reaction to another famous masterpiece that sowed the seeds of greatness for this one?
I’m not sure, but it begs the question, “what is art?”
Can art simply be anything? Perhaps so, especially given the common phrase beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Can a bike be art? My best friend might say yes. Below he captures a beautiful shot of his bike with the backdrop of a beautiful sunset over the Ben Franklin Bridge.
What about yoga?
Here Michelle practices a yoga pose with waves crashing on rocks behind her. She shares this image in the midst of dealing with changes in her body and trying to regain maximum balance and flexibility.
Here our friend Jen posts a shot of mouth watering fries from the Oculus (immediately under the world trade center). You might say it represents decadence and indulgence that flies in the face of hate and terror. A powerful image if you ask me.
So coming back to my question, what is art?
I’ve just finished a book called How Can Proust Change Your Life. In it, I believe the author offers up a great answer to this question.
…the greatness of works of art has nothing to do with the apparent quality of their subject matter, and everything to do with the subsequent treatment of that matter. And hence, his associated claim that everything is potentially a fertile subject for art and that we can make discoveries as valuable in an advertisement for soap as in Pascal’s Pensées.

Stay curious!
-Jeremy & Jake
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