“Anything is art if an artist says it is.”
Personally I think Duchamp is right on the ball with this idea. Not only is it a foundation of his art it is true for those of us who contemplate whether our work is art or not.
Duchamp was the master of appropriation, he would take every day objects and put them into a gallery context and label them art. A very Dada concept, of which he was often associated with, even though he didn’t particularly like being associated with them. He was also part of the cubist movement with work like Nude descending stairs. Without a doubt he changed the thinking of the art world and influenced many who came after him.
A good example is Edward Weston’s Photograph Excusado which is of a toilet, which clearly references Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Fountain” which is a urinal which he exhibited in 1917.
So, if you are wondering if your art is art or not, you really have to decide if you are an artist or not. If you are an artist you can decide if it’s art or not.
Some of you will think this a bit of a cop out. But I think it is the crux of the issue. It is really about intention rather than product. Yes, it’s that simple. If you intend your work to be art then and you think it is, then it probably is.
Duchamp’s work is at the art gallery of NSW at the moment. I walked past it on Wednesday but didn’t go in. Saving that for my next visit.
Am leaving for Tasmania today. Posts will be scattered and once we start walking the Overland Track will stop for a week.
The Tarkine Photograph and text copyright © Len Metcalf 2019