Yesterday a group of people were checking out the current art installation that we have here at the library: pieces inspired by the book Mink River. One of them is a mixed media piece that incorporates found items: cigarette butts. One of the group pointed out the piece to his friend and said, “Look at this! And they call THAT Art.” Everyone else in the group laughed along questioning the use of the cigarette butts. One person even pointed out that the cigarettes were found objects, but she said so in a way that was meant to make fun of the idea. At least that was the way the group took it. They all chuckled at this idea of using found objects in a piece of art, as if it was the worst idea ever.
I found this whole exchange amusing. That piece has evoked a response from everyone who has looked at it. It certainly evoked a response from this group of people. Isn’t that the purpose of art? It is for me. If I look at a painting, a photograph, a sculpture, read a poem, book, or short story, and I am left thinking, “fuuuuck,” then that, to me, is art. I don’t care if it is pretty. It might be beautiful and it might be ugly. But it must be evocative. This cigarette piece most certainly is.
So yes, sir. That is what we call art.