Blog: Is Art Like Life?

Christine Alfery

Posted on June 23 2017

Sunflower VIII by Christine Alfery

A couple of weeks ago I stated that I was again thinking about “what is art?” Tough question and Hedy Mainmann responded that art is like life. I ask, is art really like life? She isn’t the only person who has made that statement. It is a simple statement but the complexity of thought behind it has been discussed for many years. If art is life does it imitate life? Just the word imitate causes a problem for me. Without going into huge detail I will just say no imitation – if it is art it is a thing in itself.

Several years ago I wrote a paper on Michel Foucault's statement “Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life.” I agree our life can be an art object as Foucault suggests here – but I disagree that just any lamp, or house can be an art object – not just anything can be “art.” Many things can imitate art but not many things can be “art.”

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