What Is Art?
We flock to Los Angeles with a spring in our step, a dream in our hearts, and a Spotify playlist blasting in our hatchback. Our Honda Fit. Our Nissan Versa. Our Prius-C if you’re nasty — AND ONLY IF YOU’RE NASTY. We dream of making the next Citizen Kane, or being in the next Citizen Cope, or just being the best citizen we can be. We want money, recognition, and we want TO CREATE. We all aspire to make art, but what we don’t realize is that we ARE art. Each and every one of us is a walking, breathing work of art. If we all just came to terms with the fact that art is all around us, maybe our daily trials and tribulations would feel not like a chore at times but instead like an experience! A visual, aural, mental, metaphysical masterwork. I have experienced art in my every day life that is too gorgeous, too breathtaking, too overwhelming not to share. Here are some things that I can unequivocally defend as art:
-The public figure in the nearly empty “New American Cuisine” restaurant a table away from you who is screaming at full volume to one person but also to you in between bites of an overpriced cheeseburger served on an English Muffin because why the fuck not saying “Yeah dude, I’ve had like… three threesomes. The first two were awful. Fuckin’ disasters. But the third (and he says this next part making unbroken eye contact with you) the third was PERFECT. Like what your 15 year old self dreams it might be like,” he’s art. That is performance art in real life.
-A celebrity aging out of relevance due to the ageist and unfair beauty standards of Hollywood, only to reemerge somewhat victoriously with a lifestyle rebrand where they are suddenly a fitness guru/life coach/Vegan cookbook author/tantric yoga pornographer/right wing craft expert/organic baby food pioneer, is ART. Because if Alicia Silverstone can squeeze money from a rock by telling people how horny and chill it is to eat kale TWENTY ONE YEARS after Clueless came out than by all means SQUEEZE HUNTY, SQUEEZE. NOTE: Author is WELL aware how not cool it was to say that and did it anyway. And that maybe also is art?
-In a weight and wellness obsessed town, the way that a co-worker will walk by a table of free desserts like they are just happening upon them and not ravenously coming to find them after reading the email that was sent out about them, arms at their side, gracefully *almost* walking past them and then stopping as if to say, “ha. Mini cupcakes? But wait… did we? Is there? Did someone set this up… or are these from a birthday thing? What flavor are these even [unintelligible scarfing noises]”… is art. It’s for no one in particular and that’s what makes it for everyone.
-THE GIANT IKEA TABLE AND CHAIR SET AT THE BROAD MUSEUM IS NOT ART. REPEAT: NOT ART. I AM SORRY TO DO THIS IN MIDDLE OF SUCH A POSITIVE PIECE ABOUT BEAUTY AND ART BUT I HAVE TO BE REAL. THAT’S JUST FURNITURE FROM THE APARTMENT OF AN OGRE WHO HAS RECENTLY GRADUATED COLLEGE AND IS STILL “FIGURING IT OUT.”
-The following emoji combination sent to a romantic prospect: peach, red heart, three wet droplets, dog face, one hundred, peach again, yellow heart, red heart, a-okay hands, peach a third time, IS ART. It’s perfect and it works. Trust me. Also, a single breaded shrimp emoji when you’re unsure of the vibe between you two is DEFINITELY art. Subtle, understated, classic. When in doubt, send that shrimp. What will they respond with? You have literally no way of knowing. It’s like a thought experiment, and there’s art in science, for sure.
-The mere existence of a REAL cover band consisting of Joe Perry from Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, and Johnny Depp called Hollywood Vampires to “honor the music of the rock stars who died from excess in the 1970s” where each member wears an escalating number of scarves from zero to [infinite number of] scarves, is art, as are the many bootleg YouTube videos of them playing live, who should be viewed on mute.
-The twist in the Will Arnett Netflix passion project “Flaked,” in which, and there’s a giant spoiler coming so skip this paragraph if you plan on watching Flaked On Netflix Starring Will Arnett, our main character Chip, who is a recovering alcoholic (get it?) who can’t drive because he killed a kid with his car turns out to not only NOT be an alcoholic, but rather a saint who is taking the blame for the vehicular manslaughter his *cough cough* blonde actress ex-wife committed so she could have a career, and THEN the sister of the kid that was killed comes to town and falls for him without telling him who she is and then he finds out after they’re already fucking but he can’t tell her because he’s keeping his ex’s secret, is DEFINITELY ABSOLUTELY A WORK OF ART and should be studied by historians. Also if you have insomnia you should give that show a whirl. It is truly wild.
-The East Hollywood graffiti that is so achingly white that it actually has the balls to display text like “Guns Don’t Kill People, Selfies Do,” and “Let’s Love Like Our Parents Aren’t Divorced” and “Your Pilot Had More Act Two Problems Then Our Relationship And That’s Really Saying Something” and “I Would Hike Runyon On A Cleanse For You” are art, because they make me furious and anything that can make me feel something that hard has to be art. Also those last two examples are made up. I wrote them! Where’s my coffee table book, bitch!?
In summation, you don’t need to be hanging in a museum or to be titled “The Neon Demon” to be considered art. You don’t need to be an image lovingly edited in VSCO Cam and ‘grammed for a minimum of 46 likes to be art. You just need to be beautiful, and that shit is in the eye of the beholder. One love, Jah bless, and thank you.