Among our favorite topics at The Muse Dialogue is that great question at the center of our world: What is art? Into the fray enters Andrea Romero. Romero is struggling with the tension of knowing that art exists but being unable to define it. Art is not simply whatever we want it to be or whatever we say it is — for if that were the case, then the word would be irrelevant entirely. Yet as soon as we use the word, consensus seems perhaps a distant hope. Romero writes, “It would be too easy to reconcile the conflict by simply accepting that certain concepts are ineffable and that language is just a placeholder. Art exists – I will never debate that, but it is rather frustrating to be unable to define something I value so deeply.”
Join her as she explores this ever compelling topic, as she contemplates what artists intend in their work and what they and we have to say about them in her essay “Validating the Artist’s Intent Is Not Validating the Artist’s Word” (click here to read full article).
Johannes Vermeer, A Lady Writing a Letter (Photo: National Gallery of Art)
We launch the second year of The Muse Dialogue with a dialogue, appropriately enough. A dialogue in letters specifically. We have been musing (yes, the other half of our name) on the subject of defining art. As we talked through how to approach it, we felt that the issue needed multiple points of view in conversation, working toward some resolution. So Andrew Swensen and Alexandra Holness have taken up the task, and the questions are many but may boil down to two: How do we define art? Do we need to define it at all? Perhaps we are taking our cue from some of the other letter-writers out there — Rilke writing his letters to a young poet or Schiller writing his letters on aesthetic education — and the notion of using letter-writing seemed somehow appropriate to the task. We look forward to taking this journey, and we hope that you will join us for Vol. 2, No. 1: Defining Art, A Dialogue in Letters.
Letter I: The Journey Begins (click here to view the first installment)