What is art? That was the question posed to me by one of my daughter’s during our weekend excursion to the Joselyn Art Museum in Omaha. I thought I knew what art is, but after our trip… I am not so sure.
Art is defined by Dictionary.com as the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. Okay, that definition doesn’t do much for a seven-year-old, and frankly, it doesn’t do much for me either. When I said aesthetic, my little one responded with wide eyes, “Daddy, you said a bad word.”
There were some incredible paintings and sculptures that amazed me. Unfortunately, there were some pieces that I would definitely refer to as “Pieces.” Like the “piece” that I drove my freshman year of college that had a hole in the back seat floor, so when you drove through water, the rear passenger needed waterproof boots. My collegiate colleagues and I did a lot of artistic things in that car, and most of them I can’t speak of in this forum.
There was “art” that my wife said, “I could do that.” And you know what? She was right. If the majority of society can copy it, then I am not sure it should be considered art. While looking at one “piece” of work, my 5th grader pointed out that it looked like something her younger sister had made at Grandpa’s house with sparkle paint and glue. And you know what? She was right! There was an eerie similarity between the art “piece” at Joselyn and the artwork my youngest daughter had created a month earlier.
In my opinion, and I may offend some artsy people with this statement, just because it was created by someone famous doesn’t mean it is good, or that it should be hung in a gallery for the world to see. Mr. T is cool, but if he wipes his nose on a Kleenex, I am not keeping it, nor am I showing the world that I have a Mr. T snot collection. Although, that would be something I could keep in my A-Team lunch box in the garage.
Ahh, the A-Team, now that was art. I remember those days of my youth when Dad and I would park in front of the television and watch that week’s episode of America’s favorite soldiers of fortune. I was watching the pilot episode, “Mexican Sleigh Ride,” on Netflix when my oldest daughter came into the room. Needless to say, she was hooked. A week later, we have worked through 10 of 85 episodes. Her two younger sisters have even been seen hanging with Dad and Big Sis in the family room, and my wife made an appearance last night.
John “Hannibal” Smith always makes me laugh. He reminds me of my father, only without the cigar. My oldest likes Murdock, and I think my fifth grader likes Mr. T. There is nothing like a group of fugitive-guns-for-hire crashing cars, wrecking planes and helicopters, shooting guns, and evading the military police. It really brings families together. Now that is art!
Art is what you want it to be, I guess. The best pieces of art in my life are the little things. My fifth grader putting a corner kick in the right spot in front of the goal is art. The beautiful smile of my oldest (which looks very similar to my wife’s smile) when I tell a joke that makes her laugh is art. The hug I get from my youngest daughter when I get home from work is one of the finest pieces of art I could receive. And sitting with my wife and three daughters in our family room with the A-Team on the television, well, that is definitely a work of art.
I can’t wait until we finish the A-Team and move into the episodes of AirWolf. Happy New Year to all of you, and I hope you enjoy your own pieces of art.