Defining the Arts by Michelle Kahmi (National Association of Scholars)

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting art critic, author and independent scholar Michelle Kamhi. She was nice enough to send me a copy of her latest book “Who Says That’s Art?” In it, drawing on evidence ranging from anthropology to recent findings of neuroscience, Michelle offers a vigorous yet readily understandable defense of the public’s commonsense view of art.

Well, Mrs. Kahmi is back with an interesting paper published in the National Association of Scholars titled “Defining the Fine Arts”

From the paper: " Earlier this year, I happened to peruse the latest AP Art History Course and Exam Descriptions and was appalled from the outset by the cover image—a photograph of the inane Gates installation in New York’s Central Park. As one astute young visitor had mused on seeing it in 2005:

They are just orange curtains. They don’t have much meaning. . . . It kind of takes the purpose out of art. . . . [It] really depends [on] what you define as art. . . . I don’t think it is art, just a bit of shock value. . . . But I guess that is the state of modern art these days.

In so reflecting, that 16-year-old had identified the crux of the problem. It goes far deeper than politicization—to the fundamental question of how art is defined. And the sad truth is that the crucial definition of fine art has become increasingly confused almost since its inception—with the result that the very concept is rejected outright by most of today’s scholars and critics. Instead, the mainstream art world is now ruled by the “institutional” [de-]definition of art—which declares, in effect, that art is virtually anything created by a purported artist." -Michelle Kahmi

You can read the entire paper here:

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