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What is Abstract Art?

April 26, 2013

This is a question that has really made me think a lot in regards to many pieces of what we call "abstract" art. For instance, I've thought "If I poke a hole in a cup and fill is with red fluid, and let it run, can I can I call it an expression against the bloodshed in the world and get 10,000 dollars?" So, for this post, I decided to take a look at one of the earliest contemporary forms of abstract art. In 1917, artist Marcel Duchamp challenged the concept of art when he unveiled his work called, "Fountain." "Fountain" was literally a urinal placed on its side--nothing more, nothing less, just a urinal. This piece of art was very controversial when it was presented, and to me, it still brings up a very controversial idea: is "abstract art" too large of a category? In other words, do we identify things as very abstract art that truly has much less artistic value than a painting sold for thousands less? I honestly want to know what people think. Should we classify as many abstract pieces as "fine works of art?" I adore art and think that if the artist has an honest message in mind when he or she creates the work, and puts forth an at least reasonable amount of effort, it's a form of art--maybe not fine art, but art nonetheless. But should a urinal tipped on its side, and other works of "art" like that in modern times, really be placed next to other pieces of fine art that seem like they involved some sort of serious effort? I'm curious what other people think, and hopefully posting about one of the the earliest forms of this type of art, I can start a discussion.

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