Re: hobbies

From: Marilyn Brakhage (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Mar 12 2006 - 15:24:05 PST

On Sunday, March 12, 2006, at 09:36 AM, Cari Machet wrote:

> so yes i would have to say i disagree
> all is art.


I was making a play here on the Charles Olson line that Stan would
frequently quote: "All IS interesting/ nothing is." However, I guess
you're right, in a sense, if you mean to say that everything IS
interesting, because in some ways, of course, everything -- or anything
-- is. But if everything is light, what is "dark"? If everything is
large, what is "small"? If everything is happy, what is "sad"? In
other words, we define things, in part, by what they are not. And my
point, I guess, was just that if the word "art" is too broadly applied
it tends to lose meaning. Likewise, if the word "hobby" is too widely
applied, or if the two words are conflated into a single meaning, then
there will be a loss of understanding.

In my experience it is often people who want to call whatever they do
"art" -- whether it be fishing, cooking, therapy, (or, for that matter,
filmmaking) -- who are trying to inflate their egos, because they seem
to feel that the word "art" validates what they do in some way. They
think of it as a value judgment and don't want anyone valued higher
than anyone else. Or perhaps they think that "art" simply means
"personal expression," and therefore, because they are just as valid or
valuable a person as anyone else, what they do should be called their
"art." That's all okay, if that's what the word has come to mean. But
then, in that case, we're needing another word. (But I do not consider
myself an artist, and don't think I am trying to inflate my ego simply
by trying to distinguish what art might actually be.)

Of course, you are also right to suggest that the lines are not clear
and absolute. Just like happy and sad are not truly distinct . . .
These are the limitations of words. But as I began my participation in
this discussion by saying, I don't know artists who make art simply
"because they enjoy it." I do know people who pursue hobbies "because
they enjoy it." I think it's a different type of engagement, and
probably generally brings about different results.


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