Kevin Bjorke
Kevin Bjorke
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Three rolls of Tri-X rated ISO 3200 in Xtol 1+1; two rolls of Portra 400UC.

I keep wanting to stop mentioning Henry Rankin Poore so here’s a last (?) chance to diss his opinions just a little more (not that he deserves it in general).

In Poore’s later books he keeps hammering on his own little drum “art is thought passed through emotion and frozen into form.” As opposed to emotion passed through thought and frozen into form, or most any other handy definition.

For a long time I’ve been answering the question “what is art?” with a line told me by the late Nick England (there is a memorial concert for Nick this weekend at CalArts, BTW):

(Art is:) Whatever you can get away with.

Which is evasive enough to be humorously appealing and unassailably true. It goes hand in hand with Hans Abbing’s “art is whatever people say art is.”

In the footnotes of Poore, however, I found another definition, one that Poore apparently discards, a throwaway from the Edinburgh Review:

Art is the revelation of the individuality of things.

Which in my book just about nails it.

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