Questions About Art
When we use the term "art" in the context of this web site, we are referring to the visual arts. Works of visual art are constructed from very basic elements or components that we experience through our sense of sight and/or touch; namely, lines, two and/or three dimensional shapes, textures, colors, dark and light qualities, and actual or implied space. In fact, almost everything that we see can be described or interpreted in terms of these same visual (or sensory) components. Why do we ascribe the term "art" to some of these objects while others are merely described as useful or interesting or even beautiful? It is the purpose of this web site to explore answers to this question and many other issues that deal with the nature of art; for example, why art is important to us as individuals, and how art functions as a key player in both social and economic spheres.
A typical response when one is confronted with questions about art is "I may not know much about art, but I know what I like." What is implied by this forthright reaction is simply that one usually likes what he or she actually knows about art. It follows that if one's knowledge is limited, responses will also be limited. Unfortunately, many adults have not had the opportunity (or the desire) to explore the world of art in any systematic way. As a consequence, their reactions to art exist at a very basic level; "I like it or I don't like it" being the principle reaction to works of art, where ever encountered.
One need only review the following questions to gain some insight into the complexity of the world of art. Being able to provide reasonable answers to these types of questions would demonstrate one's ability to both understand and appreciate art, at least at a very fundamental level. Providing possible responses to these questions is the purpose of the information, discussions and activities within this web site. Our primary objective is to reveal a sampling of the types of thoughts and emotions that may be triggered when encountering works of art. We hope to facilitate achieving greater degrees of differentiation in one's responses to works of art and, as a consequence, enable reactions that are more meaningful, encompassing and profound. We also hope to nurture an appreciation for the varied functions and values of art; to demonstrate that the visual arts are an extraordinary phenomena, and that they are essential to our well being, individually and as a society.
What is art?
While all types of objects and events may involve us in the aesthetic aspects of experience, are we willing to call all of them art?
Is art found only in art museums?
What does a work of art express?
How does art serve the individual and society?
What are the differences between art and science?