What is art exactly?
|"That is not art," said Art, gazing at the red dot in the middle of a blank canvas with a sneer.
Jeryl, standing beside his longtime friend, sighed before replying.
"We're in an art museum. It's hanging on the wall. Someone certainly thinks it's art."
"Yeah, some idiot!" Art huffed, clearly ready and willing to debate the topic. Jeryl considered for a brief moment before deciding to bite.
"The people that work in the museum almost certainly have more credentials and education to back up what they're thinking than you do!"
Exasperated, Jeryl googled "art" and read it to his friend.
"Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power."
"What you read said that skill is required for it to be art! A friggin' red dot doesn't take skill. I could probably do that!"
"The skill is in the decision to create the red dot and nothing else, not in the function of painting it. He is boiling an idea--an emotion, really--into its simplest visual state," Jeryl said, eyebrows bobbing as he attempted to persuade his friend to open his mind. "Don't you feel anything when you look at that?"
"Yeah. Mad. That the city probably paid a bundle of money for that hunk of junk."
"I see anger in it too... for a completely different reason! A bright red dot makes me think of being angry or maybe in pain. I'm not entirely sure what the artist was feeling when he painted it, but that's what it evokes in me. That's the connection that it makes between artist and at least one viewer."
Puzzled, Art stared at it for a long moment.
"I don't know, man. It's just a freaking. Red. Circle."
Art shook his head.
"You intellectual types--I swear. You're the smartest guy I know... and the dumbest."
Jeryl couldn't help but crack a grin at the complisult.
"I'll take that as a compliment."
"See? I rest my case," said Art softly as he continued to stare at the painting.
Both men stared at the image for a while longer.
"Want to check out the next one?" said Jeryl.
"Sure," said Art, eyes still glued to the red circle in the center of the painting as they began to walk, breaking away only when his neck could no longer crane far enough to maintain the visual link.
"It sure got us fired up and talking, I guess. I'll say that much for it," said Art, turning his gaze toward Jeryl without a trace of derision left in them.
Jeryl smiled in satisfaction.
His friend got it at last.