Define ‘Art’

A blurry cell phone photo of my shoes and some sidewalk vandalism claiming to be art.

This bit of visual pollution has been showing up all over the city lately. While I might have been able to look past the fact that it is illegal and ugly because the message is one that resonates with anyone who has ever been burned by someone they love (a.k.a everyone), I cannot get past the not-so-subtle insinuation that this tripe excuse of a stencil is “art.” Wink wink, we’ll paint the “a-r-t” a different color, so people know that it is art. I know that the definition of art is very subjective. Everyone has shaken their head a time or two while at the museum when viewing a questionable mixed media piece that looks exactly like that pile of vomit at the bottom of the subway stairs from the morning commute. You know the one– the one that is on loan from the private collection of so-and-so. So-and-so paid 7 figures for it in the late 80s. I guess my point is that it is probably not my place to try to say what is and is not art.

But… I will make a few observations. Because, in case the snark was not strong enough in the preceding paragraph to give away my opinion of this so called [he]art, I am not a fan. Just because you used spray paint and stencils does not make you an artist, dude. Clue number one that #pyh might not actually be art: If the art has to tell you that it is art, it probably isn’t. It’s like those people on tinder who have stuff in their profile like “gentleman” or “classy girl.” Meanwhile everyone knows they edited their profile to say that while they were in the bathroom on their third date of the night, and creeped their way to second base publicly at the bar on all three dates. Clue number two: Untimely use of “Brooklyn grammar.” A year and a half ago shortening “your” to “yo” would have still been trying too hard, but at least way back then it would have been mildly amusing and almost okay when trying to convince someone of your ability to be clever or pseudo-edgy. Instead– reading this is like listening to your mom tell you about how her bridge club is “on fleek.” One of those things where people ask you what is wrong, because your face can’t help but give away how embarrassed you feel for everyone in a .5 mile radius of the site where the social disconnect manifested itself. You try to tell your mom that “on fleek” was over before it started, but only blood is coming out of your mouth, because your brain melted when you heard your mom say the eff word. Clue number three: The aesthetic does not appeal those who find themselves outside of scrapbooking circles or the “no parking” sign painters guild. I mean, is this art?:


Is this King?:


The answer is of course yes (to both), the same way that an old plastic Duane Reade bag can be a substitute for underwear in a pinch. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Jon Bon Jovi once said.



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