What is Art?

10 years ago, as a student at the Courtauld, I wondered about this, and wrote …

I haven’t a clue what is and isn’t art. If the following is art, then it’s art. I can’t do art with my hands, but some of the following may be art – not least because some of the things I used to have here I have subsequently discovered have actually been done already, and then considered art!

Perhaps what follows is bad poetry instead of bad art!


18K (1)

18,000 NatWest Logos

18K (2)

18,000 Sad faces (Wingdings capital “L”) printed out

(The takeover of NatWest, or its defence attempt, were going to lead to 18,000 redundancies)



A plastic sphere which has the volume

of all of the breath exhaled

by a person

during their lifetime

(diameter approx 70m)

Holocaust Memorial

A 1m x 6m ‘landscape’ arrangement of 1mm ruled squared paper with a supply of pencils, sharpeners, a bin and clear plastic bin liners to hold the pencil shavings.

Notice next to strip reads:


Take a pencil.

If necessary sharpen it to a fine point.

Carefully shade one of the squares for yourself, then shade one for each member of your immediate family and your closest friend. They are not allowed to touch. Resharpen your pencil when you need to.


When a bin liner becomes full of pencil shavings it should be tied up, placed near the work, and not removed.


The following items joined by individual chain links:

An animal’s thigh bone

A clay figure

A piece of meccano

A piece of Fisher Technik

A module of electronic lego

Flicknife Skinhead

2 second movie of a Mercedes ignition key (c. 1997) being opened.



“All artworks are by Picasso unless otherwise stated”

One thought on “What is Art?

  1. I think that art must now be what the individual thinks it is. It seems that one must develop one´s own
    definition. My list has included peeling vegetables, and road repairs. Others have included giving birth, sitting still, or walking and a whole hoast of other things, activities and ideas, in their personal definitions. The problem we all seem to have is that what is presented as art by others sometimes falls outside our preconcieved theories and formulations of what art is or could be. This state of affairs will continue, there does not seem to be anything to stop.it. Artists themselves are busy redefining what is possible. And now anything is possible! We are all in the same boat – maybe that boat at Freeze 2011 which can be art or not-art simultaniousy – a Helsenbergian work of uncertainty depending on how one observes it.
    We have come along way from R. Mutt´s “Fountain´´, which was rejected as not-art and was never shown in an exhibition. It was recorded in one photograph and some time later was put out with the garbage. Of course the fact that it was not shewn in an exhibition does not make Fountain into not-art. However we now have six “fakes´´, signed by the artist, which now stand in place of the original. So confusion reigns and one can only wait and see what might happen next, and be accepting, or not, as to what might be presented to us. We are in the age of the 7 Billion Theories of Art.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s