Have you ever looked at a painting or piece of artwork, and screamed in your mind – ‘I could have done that’, ‘What is this?’, or most commonly, ‘It’s not art!’

Fountain_Marcel DuchampSo what makes something valid to be art? Over the past few decades, modern artists have changed our perspectives of art. Instead of making art with their bare hands, such as pottery or a sculpture piece, but new contemporary artists such as Marcel Duchamp and graffiti artists like Banksy have transformed the art landscape. 

Instead, these contemporary artists push the boundaries of the art world. How did Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917) become art? It’s only a standard men’s urinal – nothing unseen or that brand new. 

…a whole new concept…

Art critics have said that it was due to the fact that he had taken something ordinary and gave it a whole new concept, which makes it a valid piece of art. Note: Don’t forget that Marcel Duchamp also signed the fountain. 

So does that mean anyone  can take something ordinary and turn it onto art? 

…the work has to be ‘out there’…

TateModern_ PhilShawWalking down Tate Modern and Tate Britain, you are bombarded with new and fresh approaches to art, and yet no one really gets what the pieces are trying to convey. Artists try so hard to be avant garde, and just to be noticed – perhaps as there is just so many of them in this world, being churned out of art schools and getting in touch with their creativity- the work has to be ‘out there’ to be even noticed. 

Yet it does not have to be so ‘out there’ to be seen as an art form. There are thousands of forms which are considered art, but the one in which everyone can partake in is photography. With the advance of technology, and Instagram, everyone has the latest Canon or nikon so that they can shoot iconic pictures. That is an art in itself, in which everyone can take place. 

…no one can distinguish a true art piece from rubbish…

Even though everyone can become an artist, no one can distinguish a true art piece from rubbish. Everything has melted into one large pot. So does that make all art work nowadays valueless? 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.

About The Author

I am a Journalism student in my last year. I prefer to write than type.

3 Responses

  1. POA

    This is a frankly misinformed and poor article, Duchamp is not contemporary his creation of the readymade has been developed and considered many times over the last 100 hundred years by: Warhol, Koons, Hirst etc. Joseph Kosuth as the ‘father of conceptual art’ has had an equally important impact based upon what Duchamp started. The readymade can be easily understood as an art object given some simply reading and reversal of bad habits of predetermining what is ‘art’, before actually engaging with it – I myself am an artist that works with the Duchampian Nomination using more up to date theories around the use of the real world object as art. Art students are simply not trying too hard to get noticed with these works, which good or bad, can difficult for their esoteric, transient or peripatetic forms and installation methods. It is actually these works that are the most difficult to get exhibited in the art world due to their challenging nature and problematic issues of saleability. In regards to your thoughts on photography, yes Instagram and digital media has altered out perceptions and accessibility to photography, but it does not lessen or make ordinary what a photographer is. The work of photographers like Edward Burtynsky or Candida Höfer could not be produced on a mobile phone or a simple digital camera; there is a vast technical knowledge and natural skill behind their works. These become “iconic” pictures, not like the plethora of other images in the world which are, simply, just pictures. On your last three sentences I suggest you look at some of the implications of postmodern writings on the art world and this homogenous mass you seem to declare the art world to be. Perhaps the connoisseurship and years of information learned from art school upwards might thwart your statement that ‘no one can distinguish a true art piece from rubbish’, maybe if you had some of this education and natural eye you might not be as bold to make grand statements which you clearly cannot back up beyond weak personal opinion.

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  2. rae

    as an artist, and art student, and someone who deals with conceptual work, i am offended by this juvenile and misinformed article. i especially agree with POA’s comments regarding photography. anyone can snap a shot on their iphone, true. it takes an eye, talent, and recognizing a moment as something special to take a truly great photo.

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