Above is a picture of my "art wall" in my bedroom.

So what is art? I can remember that scene in Mona Lisa smile where the lead actress Julia Roberts lectures her student about what art is. She shows the class pictures of things that were at that time absurd to label as art--like a photograph of her mother, a can of soup, and a grotesque painting. Kirsten Dunst's character laughed at her professor's notions of art because art, she said, can only be art if the "experts" say so. Remember that painting that is so dear to the professor, isn't it a Picasso? At that time, it wasn't given much recognition unlike today. What happened?

Again, what is art? Anything someone wants to call art? Or are there some objective criteria, that not every instance of paint smeared on canvas and not every murder mystery meets? What are the main philosophies of art? Are any of them plausible?

This is what I have to say.

An old conception(or misconception) of art is that it was supposed to be beautiful or represent something of importance. But are there necessary and sufficient conditions and qualities for being art? Notice that different art pieces resemble each other, but there is no underlying thread that connects them all. What makes an artistic process artistic? History tells us that the first time that the question of what art is came up was in the 19th century in a pamphlet by Leo Tolstoy we know today as that great Russian writer. I doubt that one can define art. Art is whatever is made in an artistic process and consumed as art. History tell us again that most pieces of art in museums were not intended to be art. Perhaps, to be an art object, that object must differ interestingly from others of its kind.

The desire to make something special is characteristic of the artistic process. Is there a legitimate difference between high art and low art? A lot of people think art is only the stuff hanging in the museums. I even read this magazine(was it Mademoiselle?) back in 2001(I have an almost photographic memory of things that held my interest) that jokingly said that anything framed and hung on the wall is art. Historically, much art was made for popular entertainment. Does this mean we should expect popular culture like Lady Gaga to be the only thing to survive the passage of time? Now that is something.

What is the connection between beauty and art? Art is beauty although it may not all be pretty. Beauty involves whether you like it. Much modern art is engaging although it isn't pretty. What does art do for us is that it is for us to enjoy. Can just anything be art? Going back to the Mona Lisa movie, it is hard to convince people that something is art. There is also status involved in art, like Bach's commissioned pieces. It poses a problem sometimes because a lot of art is inaccessible because it requires background knowledge, but many people think that it should be immediately engaging. Some art is aimed at a small group of viewers. Sometimes we find it difficult to appreciate any art like a Dadaist lamp with a leg on roller skates as a lamp post, or even great art like Monet's works when the Impressionists first held an exhibition in Paris. As for me, I believe in art, in the appreciation of art, may it be a painting, a contemporary art installation
at the park, a movie, a photograph, a piece of clothing, or a heavy rock song.

Among art forms, I have a special attachment to movies. I agree with Inno Sotto when he produced the short film Muse starring Heart Evangelista, that film is the most complete form of art. You get everything from it. The artistry in the visual aspect like that of a painting or a sculpture; in its audio, like a musical score for instance(hey, have you watched August Rush? You should.) and the artistry of its literary aspect, the story and how it is told, the dialogues, and the message and how it is conveyed.

Lastly, when we fail to appreciate art, it is like not seeing beauty in its many forms, not seeing life through the eyes of great thinkers-slash-artists, refusing something that holds a piece of someone's heart or something that tells of ideas and emotions and experiences that are not familiar.