I went down to the National Gallery this morning to see the Hopper exhibit. We also wandered through Turner and the Baroque Woodcut exhibit which I highly recommend. However, we skipped the “Art of the American Snapshot” in part because my partner, who is a fine art photography student, doesn’t think it’s art. Which leads to the question of the role of the artist. Must the creator self-identify as an artist for the work to be considered art? Consider the story of the 4 year old “prodigy” who is selling her paints for tens of thousands of dollars and winning over the New York art scene. I would posit that few four year olds can really conceive of themselves as artists…so, is it art? Also, if the only requirement for defining art is the self-definition of the artist, presumably anyone could claim anything to be art.
Art theorists, historians, and philosophers have argues this for hundreds of years, and I’m not proposing to solve these issues here. But if you do head down and see “The Art of the American Snapshot” let me know what you think.
Addendum: See Prof. Levinson’s Diamondback letter to the editor on the death of the author. What do you all think?