Stealing Art Part I

Christine Alfery

Posted on April 26 2021

Stealing Art Part I

Featured image: The Jester

How was the concept of art was stolen?

How do we think about art? What are some of the ideas and concepts we, those of us in the arts, have created surrounding a work that we identify as “art?”

Ideas and concepts are words. Words we use to communicate with others. Generally, we agree on how a word is understood. That's not happened with the concept or idea of art. The concept of art has illuded definition for a long time. The question of "what art is," – is still alive today.

When they talk about what art is and what art is not, there are many that link how art is understood with whether it is "good art" or "bad art." When this happens, I question how groups, or individuals understand the concept of “art.” I love studying words and their social and political powers.

I love studying what power they have over the artist and the work that is being labeled as art. I ask myself, "Which is more powerful in a work of art? Is it the power of the social and political agenda and who benefits from this work, the very concept of art, or the artist, or the social and political agenda?"

I have always thought of art existing within a power zone all of its own simply because of the criteria that I place on the concept of art and how it should be understood. I have frequently talked about the elements as to what constitute the concept of “art.” They include: creativity (the most powerful element within the concept of art), uniqueness, one-of-a-kindness, originality and freedom. Has the artist put themselves in the work? If they have, then, how do they understand self? What is their notion of self? Is their notion of self, or soul or individuality powered by another’s concept of self and what the self should be?

The concept of a "Jester" is an excellent example of one of  kindness, originality - and authenticity.  The original concept of Jester, "In literature, the jester is symbolic of common sense and of honesty, notably in King Lear, where the court jester is a character used for insight and advice on the part of the monarch, taking advantage of his license to mock and speak freely to dispense frank observations and highlight the folly of his monarch."  Speaking freely to dispense frank observations common sense and honesty is an authenticity we have lost.

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