Defining the "gray areas" around and in Art

Venn Diagram showing Almost-Art

Is it art, or not? Am I being artistic in what I'm doing: that is, do I bring something of aesthetic value to my work? Is that picture of a naked woman art, or pornography? Is that sound art, or noise? 

What if anything about humor is art? Or, is there nothing more artistic than that which inspires a roll-on-the-floor belly-laugh?

Just because a would-be artist takes up any of the so-called "fine arts" as a vocation, does that mean that they start producing art right away?

Is there a certain amount of subjectivity in art, or are artistic qualities all objectively determined? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, why would art critics ever bother to either agree or disagree? Just because the object is attractive, or pleasing to the eye, or contains the required symmetry, proportion, composition, or harmony, do those things in themselves make it art?

Just because an artifact "shows imagination" on the part of the artificer, does that mean that the object is art? Is there a scale of artistry, or is being artistic, or art, an all-or-nothing thing? Maybe what we call "fine art" is that which possesses elements that have reached a certain degree of artistic quality. But then, we say lawyers and politicians argue with a certain artistry, does this dilute what should be spoken of separately as art?

There have been various artistic movements over the last century or so that have played with the definition of art. For example, Dada art is supposed to be "anti-art," but Dada art itself is rated along-side other genre of art. Its appeal can be just as strong. We have as categories: post-impressionistic art, Bronze Age art, abstract art, Native-American art, and children's art, just to mention a few. Objects can fall into well-defined categories, but objects may also fall into more than one category. We appreciate fine automobiles and some television commercials for their "artistic appeal," but cars and advertising are mostly "something other than art." It is sometimes difficult to separate one aspect of something's nature from another.

In their application, useful terms like "high art," "fine art," "artifact," "artwork," "craftwork," "decoration," and "art-object" sometimes seem vague. If we consider anything in particular with respect to these terms there would be much overlap in terms of considerations, and each of various terms might apply to a slightly different aspect or property of the object. The definition of art has continued to confound the experts . . . until now.

The purpose of this Almost-Art web site is to define and focus upon that immense, pervasive, and sometimes confusing "gray area" between art and non-art called "almost-art." Through the movements of post-structuralism and postmodernism we have learned to not consider the art-object only as a whole, or as a surface thing, but to look inside, to conceptually dissect and tear art apart, and then to suck all of the "artistic juice" out of it, idea by molecular idea. Through the deconstruction of art we have learned that the traces of art and artistry suffuse our considerations of everything around us. Therefore, we must live with whatever categories we maintain, and I think it is passed time that the idea of almost-art move in an take it's rightful place.

As much as possible, this presentation will avoid reference to specific types and genre in art (paintings, drawing, Renaissance Art) in order to stay generic, but sometimes these references will be unavoidable, helpful, and necessary.

Reasons - The reasons why something might be considered almost-art.

Exhibit 1 - Everyday examples of the almost-art all around us.
Exhibit 2 - Introducing Re-Non-Re Presentational almost-art - A new "kingdom" of art, by Max Buzzell.
Exhibit 3 - A slightly different (computer enhanced) presentation of the objects in Exhibit 2.
Exhibit 4 - Collections of words can also be art, almost-art, or non-art, and here are some almost-art examples.
Exhibit 5 - The Shadows of Summer collection of almost-art photographs.
Exhibit 6 - The Reflections of Summer collection of almost-art photographs.
Exhibit 7 - The Favorite Artists Rakes collection is an example of almost-art painting.
Exhibit 8 - The Icicles collection contributed by Christopher P. is an example of almost-art photography.
Exhibit 9 - The Packaging Almost-Art collection contributed by J. G. is an example of almost-art.

Aspects - Aspects of art and almost-art. What others say about art, especially the parts that form a foundation as to why almost-art is important.

Comparative - A comparison of various objects and aspects of life with respect to the categories of Art and Almost-Art.

Taxonomy - A taxonomy of the arts.

Introducing Re-Non-Re - Re-Non-Representational almost-art is a new "kingdom" in the art world, not just another genre. Here are a few words about Exhibits 2 and 3.

For Artist - How to create or avoid creating almost-art.

Quotes - A few quotes about art and almost-art.

The Physical Exhibits - A few words about the physical objects depicted in the exhibits.

The Future of Almost-Art - A few words about the future of almost-art.