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The Eternal Question

Is it art? What is art? Is art in the eye of the beholder? It may not be art, but you know what you like? Is art for art's sake? Does your art have to match the couch?

This is something I ponder. I am one of those people who sees patterns and art almost everywhere. Those transitional moments of bliss unique to conceptional art. I see art in the way the clouds frame the moon. The way gravel is pushed into patterns by water. The litter left behind after the snow melts. Rusted metal set into concrete. Usually what I see is beautiful. Sometimes it is sad and ugly. But it is still... something.

I ponder why art is important. Does it humanize us? Connect us to the minds and souls of others? Offer a glimpse into the collective zeitgeist? Recognize our common experience and give it a visual expression? And if it is so important, why is it so often either under-appreciated and underfunded or, even worse, shut up in ivory towers where only the favored and privileged can gain admittance?

I believe that art is everywhere. Underfoot. Containing our coffee and our casseroles. Enclosed between slats of gilded wood. On pedestals and in windows and sometimes the windows themselves. Attached to refrigerators with magnets and behind glass with armed guards. Some art is precious, some is transient, some lasting for the ages, some gone with the heat of the sun. I want us to be surrounded with art. Not the kind that only the very wealthiest can afford, but the kind that gives lightness to your heart, or makes you think, or changes your mood, or challenges you or makes you angry or brings you peace. Art made by a person. Touched by a person. Touching a person.

My youngest son has decided he is going to be an artist. It is a distinct possibility. He is creative and very aesthetically minded. He likes found objects, as I do. He thinks about how things are constructed, as I do. He just built a better mask, with a moving mouth than I did. Out of a cereal box, duct tape and elastic. I hope no one ever tells him that art is out of reach. That he can't appreciate it because he doesn't have the money to buy it. Art is not just for the elite. It is for everyone. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Art is everywhere. It is not always good art. Or great art. And it doesn't need to be. For me, it would be unbearable to live in a museum, surrounded by exquisite beauty that was never meant to be touched and used. I would rather live in a house, brimming with things that please my eye, my palate, my sense of humor, my need for color and texture and patterns. Things for everyday use. Things meant to be observed from across a room, that change with the light. Paintings, yes, and sculpture, but also glassware and pottery and furniture. Let's have some fun with art. Let's make art. Let's buy art.

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