Chris Johnston wrote:
both I and a famous artist could defecate in a mason jar and place it in an empty room, and call it an installation. The famous artist's would be called art, and mine would be called crap. (Well, not always so delicately!) And that situation would be complete nonsense and an insult to viewers and critics.
The above situation would be a nonsense...IF it happened.
But, you see, it never did. And the art critics would know better not to call it art, if it did happen.
We can always take a work that is officially recognized as art, construct an apparently very similar hypothetical situation and declare it absurd. Therein lies the fallacy: the original situation happened only once. If something similar happened the second time, it would not be called art.
What do you think would have happened if, shortly after Duchamp exhibited his Urinal
as art, someone would have done the same thing with a porcelain fawcet and call it The Fawcet
? The reaction would have been: nah, party is over, this is old news, no art here.
Following the same logic, one could have exhibited the appliances of his entire bathroom, one by one.
But there is only one Urinal, and that's it. This piece monopolized the idea, and nothing similar will be ever considered art. That's why it is worth so much.
So, when you take a piece of art that seems absurd to you, and make up a similar scenario, thus proving with uncontestable logic its absurdity, you have already lost the battle. That's because the original idea was Original,
but yours is just an attempt to mock it. Everyone can do that.
I think this is the problem with the logic that you are using.
It's the same issue with some of the classic pieces of modern art, where the artist has drawn a few lines and geometrical figures, and now those are considered masterpieces.
The logic is the same as yours: how come that if I draw a few of those lines and shapes (mind you, not copy the original, but just draw something different, using a few lines and shapes), it is not considered art?
It is because those masterpieces were created in a specific context, at a specific junction of the history of art, in a way never done before. That's why those are considered art, and our similar work is not. Our idea is not original. And that's why your crap would not be considered art, and neiter anybody elses. It way passed its expiration date..