Art’s meaning clear as mud?

As if there isn’t already enough confusion about what ‘contemporary art’ is, one artist has deigned to take her static art and turn it into performance art, and reading the numerous comments that follow CBC.ca’s article it’s clear that there is an abundance of confusion about what the point of any of it was.

And there was backlash! Many questioned the purpose of creating art only to destroy it. I could hear underlying questions of ‘Is this contemporary art?’ But this is nothing new. In an ancient, still-practiced ceremony, Tibetan monks spend hours creating intricate sand mandala paintings out of dyed sand only to finish their ceremony with a destruction of that creation.

During the closing ceremony, the monks dismantle the Mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impremanence [sic] of all that exists.

To me, it elicits questions on a more existential bent. Is ‘art’ the process of creation or the product? Must the work still exist for it to be appreciated? How does the appreciation and qualification of the value of that art change at the moment of it’s destruction?

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