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Hello everyone :-) 

So, my response would be that art is the point. Then I would go on very enthusiastically about how creating and being interested in the world around you and responding to that through personal practice is one of the most joyous and thrilling things to do. To immerse yourself in making art, to really study it and discover techniques that excite you, to test your skill and to improve is very rewarding. It can keep you awake at night with endless thoughts of possibility. It can help you feel peaceful and centred. It can give you a sense of purpose and achievement. It can make you feel like a little kid watching a magic trick. 

To look at other's art work isn't pointless. You can find inspiration and beauty in it. Or it can simply be a vessel for an inquiring mind- why was it created? How? When? What's it about? Even if it doesn't appeal to you- there will be something which you find beautiful - because we all have an innate sense of aesthetics. 

If I had some clay, or pens, or yarn, I would give them some and help them make something there and then. That would change their minds. :-D

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Re: the QOTW: I think that someone who made a statement like "Art is pointless" is being more than a little ridiculous. There are so many different forms of art that a blanket statement like that sets off all the alarm bells in my mind and I would likely not engage the person in any way. They would be more interested in feeling they "won" than in entering into an honest debate, and would be highly unlikely to listen to anything I said because they would be busily composing their next retort. That kind of statement comes from a closed mind. (Or possibly an extremely depressed one.) 

 

Thinking about a statement like that, I think of the fact that we don't need to see color, or like the food we eat, or wear clothes that fit properly, either. Yet how much joy would we miss if some or all of those elements were missing from our daily life? The children in Romanian orphanages proved what happens when children are raised without love, another thing that is hard to quantify. Are they alive? Yes. Are they okay? No. 

 

I would agree with jolieo that the need to defend 'the point' of art is a major factor in education today.
When you test the kids 30 times a year, who wants a subject you can't give a definitive score to?
No budget line for joy.

 

I enrolled my little boy in home school this year, for kindergarten. Math, Science, Social Studies, Reading, Phonics, P.E. Anything outside those subjects does not "count" toward his education. Thank goodness he's with me or that would be it! The music and art that bring joy into our lives have no value that can be counted out in dollars and cents so they're rated as not important. 

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Matthew: welcome to you too. You live in Alaska. Wow. I always wanted to visit Alaska. Well, about the banks: some of them make money... Is moneymaking some kind of art too do you think?

Come visit! There is plenty of studio space for people who wanted a working summer vacation too.

 

I don't think there is art in legal robbery but certainly within moneymaking. :~)

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Joel:  I've now read your second post also. Your thinking about the QOTW is very philosophical and, unfortunately, I lack the knowledge of your language  for a longer conversation, although I would love to! . I don't think that art in general is pointless unless one gives it a personal meaning. Art isn't solely about painting, ceramics, music, etc., it's also how we live our live, how we interact with others... Art is never simple IMO.

 

Louise: hi and welcome to the forum and especially to the QOTW! Now that is a very good idea of yours: instead of going into a word-fight, give them the material and help them to discover what's inside of them. I am sure they would be flabbergasted... and maybe they would be amazed that somebody tries to open up their mind (and heart). Worth a try!!

 

Giselle: you said you wouldn't even engage the person in a discussion. Looking at Louises idea of showing them, let them do art themselves, would you try to engage them under those ciscumstances? And yes, we see, read and hear from many examples how sad and empty life is without art.

 

Matthew: thank you for the invitation to Alaska. Maybe, one day....

And regarding the banks again: you are speaking to a Swiss girl... End of message ;)  :lol:  

 

Happy Sunday to you all!

 

Evelyne

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Giselle: you said you wouldn't even engage the person in a discussion. Looking at Louises idea of showing them, let them do art themselves, would you try to engage them under those ciscumstances? And yes, we see, read and hear from many examples how sad and empty life is without art.

 

If the person was truly wanting to exchange ideas and opinions, I don't mind that kind of discussion. I suppose I'm picturing someone walking into my studio, looking around at what I make, and saying, "Art is really pointless, don't you think?" In that situation I would take it as rudeness. 

 

I don't know if this counts, but I have many friends and family members who inform me over and over that they are "not creative" or "not artistic". I don't let them say that to me anymore. If they start up, I tell them kindly and firmly that everyone in the world has a creative gift but some people never find theirs. I also like to ask them about something I know they're good at, say cooking, and ask them if the very first time they cooked an egg it came out perfectly. Then I ask them how many eggs it took to get it right. Usually then they get the point that if you give up right away you'll never build any skill! I've had some friends come over to try throwing on the wheel, I sit across from them and talk them through it. It's really an amazing feeling to see someone start where I was last year, embarrassed, shaky hands, and at the end of an hour make a fat, wobbly but successful little pot, and attack the next lump of clay with new confidence. 

 

Re: banking as an art: My husband can take a spreadsheet, cause it to be filled with data from the software he works with, then convert that data into clear and understandable graphs. I can't pretend to be able to do this, but I've seen enough poorly composed graphs to think that this is an art as well. Achieving mastery and refinement of any skill we have can be art. Look at the video online of the man filling the pita pocket with falafel balls in such a way that it's like a juggling performance. Very enjoyable to watch him make your lunch! :) 

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Being old, I'd prob. smile benignly, and ask with such sweetness, "And your point is?"

But hey if the fish don't bite, the fisher usually packs up and goes away......

There is the thought that craft is craft because it has an entirely predictable outcome, which is expected and can be repeated, and Art is Art because there is no such predictable outcome and cannot be repeated.....I'm with Marcia, to the refreshment end of the show.

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It seems to me that when people make statements like "art is pointless" in a setting where it is obvious that art is your passion and livelihood, it is done with the intent to put you down, and to try make themselves feel somehow more important. They are often very insecure, and use rudeness as a way to empower themselves.  I don't have much tolerance for that behavior.  I would smile sweetly- acting oblivious that they have just tried to insult me- and tell them that "Oh, well the door out is the one you just came through".  I find that people that behave badly like that don't expect a return confrontation and they often apologize and slink away or they totally turn around become ( outwardly at least)  quite pleasant. If they were to persist, I would tell them that art makes me happy and makes me smile, and that I hope that something else in life does the same for them , and then walk away to let them think about it !   ;)

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I'm inclined to throw the "Art is pointless" person in the same group of artists writing BS-laden artists statements  --  the only ones they are trying to impress is themselves.  Art is pointless.  It is pointless to pay someone $300M to hit baseballs out of the ball park, drive cars around a high-banked oval, or wear a brand of clothing.  Etc.  We live in a society of excess (me included).  We can encourage people to be critical thinkers; but that does not mean every thing they utter has any value or meaning. 

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I think I'd be hard-pressed not to point out - probably in a rather scathing manner - that unless you live in a hole you dug and never come out of it, it's impossible not to encounter some form of art, and *gasp!* you might actually enjoy it! It may not be "fine art", but art is everywhere.

 

And then I'd probably give him a coffee mug and tell him it's because he needs something beautiful in his life.

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If the person was truly wanting to exchange ideas and opinions, I don't mind that kind of discussion. I suppose I'm picturing someone walking into my studio, looking around at what I make, and saying, "Art is really pointless, don't you think?" In that situation I would take it as rudeness. 

 

 

 

Giselle: I would think that VERY rude!... and you would make no mistake in sending him far away... And yes, your creative attempt to tell people also they are making art, each in his or her own way, is a great one! I like it to "hold the mirror in front of people", so to say.

I am curious what Matthew has to say about the art spreadsheet of your husbands :)

 

Joel: thank you! :D

 

Babs: we are not old, we are seasoned ;)  Oh, I love your response to the spoilsport. It's so ambiguous! Great!!

 

DirtRoads: we don't know whether our spoilsport is rich, half rich, or moneyless. I think he just wants to provoke. Or he is one of the sad people who "kick the dog and mean the master"

 

islandawg: welcome to the forum and to QOTW! Yes, I totally agree with you. And maybe (or maybe not) one could ask the spoilsport why he came inside the gallery in the first place if he thinks art is pointless?! Btw: Would you have the courage to show him the door?

 

bciske: you nail it down: we live in a society of excess, but does that mean everything we excessively do is pointless? Quote: It is pointless to pay someone $300M to hit baseballs out of the ball park, drive cars around a high-banked oval, or wear a brand of clothing. Agreed!.. but wouldn't the word "ridiculous" be better than pointless?

 

Sloan.Quinn: welcome to the forum and to QOTW! I like that you are the positive thinking kind of person. Show to the spoilsport that maybe he will like art when he finally understands that so much in his life is art too. And that are so kind as to invite him to a cuppa...  Thank you!

 

Mark: Haha :lol: (good one!) Since I am no American citizen I may not answer more personally....

 

Hey, why do I always refer to the spoilsport as a he? Hmmmm... I have to check my conception of man  B) 

 

Thank you everybody for discussing this topic with me.

 

Evelyne 

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Here is the monologue from "The Devil Wears Prada".

 

     This stuff’? Oh, ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blindly unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic “casual corner†where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of “stuff.â€

   

    If I felt it necessary to even respond to the comment, I'd wish I were as articulate as Meryl Streep's character.  But I might just say that any thing that didn't grow that way was designed by someone .We are all surrounded by art all the time.  Even cave dwellers modified and ornamented their surroundings and themselves.  

 

     And if art is pointless, why even comb your hair?  Isn't that rearranging something so it is better looking, or provocative, or just more interesting?

 

Cynthia

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I'd say "Yes.  Pointless indeed.  To those in low to no income sectors.  Of course it's pointless.  Oh I do see one of my best patrons over there.  Excuse me."

 

This statement was surprising in the light of the other responses to the question.     
 
Honestly,  can only the wealthy and middle class see the point to art?  Are poor people just too intrinsically unable to appreciate or see a point to art?  Can a person without money not have an opinion, for better or worse, anyway? The monied do!
 
Art appreciation, intelligence and artistic merit are certainly NOT the providence of those who measure art by income........there are more than enough pig-ignorant monied people in our societies.  The 'Art is pointless' stupidity is not income dependant at all.
 
For the last 15 years I've worked as an art teacher to people with issues of disadvantage, all of then in the 'low to no income sector' and I have rarely found art to be as pointless to them as it often is the the people who only want to profit by art as a product, resale investment or commodity.  There are plenty of people who only judge art by monetary values.
 
Art is the great equaliser, it is a fundamental part of the human experience and the most wonderful thing about it is that art can be found in mansions or slums, city studios or back sheds, hanging in galleries or the refrigerator door.  Art is very, very important, relevant and precious to the hundreds of low and no income participants in my groups over the years.....yes, even when I take them to our Australian National Gallery to see international exhibitions, and the ballet, opera and theatre performances at our Sydney Opera House.....our 'high society' institutions that all have generous concession fees for low and no income earners so they never need miss out.  Art definitely has a point to them.
 
I exhibit yearly and I have met the person in the gallery with the 'Art is pointless' attitude who unwittingly provides the evening's 'free entertainment'......I do explain the work and smile....and often they leave anyway as the cloud of the guest's disapproval and contempt closes about them.   It's all good to me.......public relations.... they may not see the point of the art but I want them to see the hospitality of the artist.
 
Irene

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Is art pointless?? No its not pointless, its too powerful to be considered pointless!! Powerful? Yes, you see, this exhibit caused everyone here to plan their day, get dressed, and drive here to look at and admire this art. That's the easy part because they appreciate it. The hardest part of the power of art is that it causes idiots and morons to come all the way here to complain about subject matter they knew they didn't like before they left their house!!! Now THAT is the power that causes art not to be pointless!!! (In my most humble opinion!)

 

143,

Alabama

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