this posting is in fact a shameless cut'n'paste of a long overdue response to JP's proffering of a Not Art link on an earlier posting. having finally paid the appropriate attentions to said article, i hereby respond in part with a snippit i first discovered in an article by Emily Vey Duke posted on www.goodreads.ca, which i found particulary astute in addressing the issue.
i direct you specifically about 6 paragraphs down in the article, and quote it here as well, for those of you disinclined to the non-sequitur click:
The problem is that students in art schools, especially at the undergraduate level, are taught the Duchampian paradigm 'it's art if you say it is, and saying it's art when it's not artful is itself a radical act.' They're taught to be suspicious of the beautiful and the interesting, and to follow their quirky whims regardless of the relevance they have to anyone else. They're also taught, without ever being explicitly told, that as soon as something is art, it's precious. As a result, art education creates artists who believe that they don't have to try very hard to make something of immeasurable value.
This is no service to the art world. In fact, I think it's why art is suffering such a crisis of irrelevance to the public at large. The work we're producing is just not good enough to catch the eye of the non-art-initiated viewer, let alone to hold her attention for long enough to make her care.
i'm not suggesting that this is THE definition of art. that would be like saying, there is a God, and this is what "he" looks like.
i am asserting, however, that this is an apt description of a problem endemic to much modern art practise.
i would like to temper my response, however, with a tip of the hat to our earlier IRL conversation about this, JP, when we were speaking about Dada, and it's evisceration of all that went before, and how successfully that brought forth a new perspective and a new era in art-making. and art making that i am also a great and loyal admirer of.
i think there is room in the art world (and i mean all arts here: poetry, theatre, music, etc...) for anyone who honestly wants to communicate with others. i think the ideas people wish to keep to themselves (by manifesting them in obscure and unwelcoming ways), should be kept to themselves.