Monday, February 13, 2012

What is art?

A criticism often levelled at degenerate art: "That's not art!" In this sentence there is the implication that art is beautiful. (Degenerate art, not being beautiful, would not be art.) In European art this is often the case; even if the sufferings of Hell are to be depicted, then they are to be pleasing to the eye. Gustave Dore's engravings of Dante's Inferno do as much. However, the defender of degenerate art, being clever, is quick to respond with a barrage of semantic questions. "What is art anyways? How is this not art then?" and so on and so forth. Rather than trapping oneself in such a morass, there should be a revised understanding of art. Artwork is something birthed from one's very soul, and is a reflection of that soul. The artwork which is grotesque is, then, the product of a malformed soul. It is not so much a question of a particular style or school of composition, but what vision the artist puts forth. For example: Lucian Freud and Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida can both be said to paint in an impressionistic style, but one depicts the world as bland and pervasively ugly whereas Bastida depicted the beauty peculiar to his Spain. So yes, Lucian Freud, Frank Gehry, etc. are all artists and their work is art - but art birthed by a crippled, degenerate soul.

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, Lucian Freud

Cosienda la vela, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida


  1. That's true. For example Bosch or Grünewald also depict horrors and debauchery but always in context of a greater scheme and with the promise of redemption. Freud's stuff is technically o.k. but it's insufficient...

  2. Well put. Crippled and degenerate sums up Freud's work neatly.