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bluets #2

artman2Across from me on the train was a man who was returning to the same city I was, and who said to me, when he saw the cover of the book I was reading, “There’s no such thing as art. Art is the word people use when they want to suggest that mystery or ambiguity exists in a situation where really there is none.” I wasn’t sure how to respond to this, because we hadn’t yet been in conversation; he’d spoken abruptly, without provocation, as if he’d been thinking of what he was going to say and then had said it. And even then, after I’d had a moment to think, I still didn’t know how to respond.

Edward Mullany is the author of If I Falter at the Gallows, Figures for an Apocalypse and The Three Sunrises. He is the recipient of a Barthelme Fellowship from the Inprint Foundation. He is also the creator of the comic strips Rachel and Ben and Excerpts From a Boring Man's Diary. He has a twitter and tumblr.

3 thoughts on “bluets #2

  1. I wonder what sort of art he was thinking about. Because, surely he couldn’t have meant kid’s drawings or Islamic architecture. Conversations like this are useless to have in the general and without examples. “ALL art is ALWAYS __.”

    Assuming he meant contemporary art, then all this guy did was rehash the old “art is a lie” complaint, which is popular among those who either haven’t taken the time engage with the art world or those who must dismiss it for ideological reasons (scientistic, religious).

    What I find offensive about this position is that it leads you to the conclusion that all artists must be either deluded idiots or clever hucksters. Because, if to call something art is to mislead, why make it? To believe this is to believe that you’ve “solved” art: it’s a scam, no wonder can’t get into it, no wonder people I dislike enjoy it so much. I see how it *really* is.”

    The kind of person that believes this garbage is the kind of person that would interrupt a reading stranger on the bus. Forget him.

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