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  #101  
Old 05-15-2009, 08:24 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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Originally Posted by rika View Post
Can you re-Fine the difference?
The difference is one has a higher dollar value because owning it makes some people feel like they are part of something divine.

Art is art, if "art" is even a definable thing.
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  #102  
Old 05-15-2009, 10:03 AM
Portoro Portoro is offline
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

Art is a self-referential gesture of the conscious mind. It is the mind’s acknowledgement of consciousness, and of the world of the self that consciousness invents. By affording a route by which we can look within, and explore the complexities of conscious life, art is a vehicle for our acknowledgement of complexity and a conscious attempt to evoke in made objects the complexities that drive conscious life. It is a self-reflexive gesture that can be seen in other areas of life, such as religious belief, and may have its psychological motivation in the desire to evade the brute objectivity of the external world. It is, therefore, a form of play, a form of escapism and a kind of revelling.
As ‘work’ it is made attractive by its being motivated by intense personal experience of a primary kind, unlike most occupations that employ the mind and the self as ‘given’, not as primary.

This definition applies to all art, from the jeweller to the conceptualist.

Pretentious? Moi?
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Last edited by Portoro : 05-15-2009 at 10:14 AM.
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  #103  
Old 05-15-2009, 10:17 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

That is pretty dang elegant Portero. One of the absolute best. I usually answer the question "why" or " what is it?" by saying I make things to discover what I can make. I must surprise myself or I failed. You left more meat on the bones.
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  #104  
Old 05-15-2009, 10:27 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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Originally Posted by Portoro View Post
Art is a self-referential gesture of the conscious mind. It is the mind’s acknowledgement of consciousness, and of the world of the self that consciousness invents. By affording a route by which we can look within, and explore the complexities of conscious life, art is a vehicle for our acknowledgement of complexity and a conscious attempt to evoke in made objects the complexities that drive conscious life. It is a self-reflexive gesture that can be seen in other areas of life, such as religious belief, and may have its psychological motivation in the desire to evade the brute objectivity of the external world. It is, therefore, a form of play, a form of escapism and a kind of revelling.
As ‘work’ it is made attractive by its being motivated by intense personal experience of a primary kind, unlike most occupations that employ the mind and the self as ‘given’, not as primary.

This definition applies to all art, from the jeweller to the conceptualist.

Pretentious? Moi?
You make it sound like things you do when 'mom' isn't watching. I'm good with that.
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  #105  
Old 05-15-2009, 10:54 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

"Play" and "escapism"...I hope not. I dont imagine an individual will be approaching the Art episode with enough intensity or effort.

Perhaps the relationship should be reversed. We "escape" back into the world of function, drudge and drivel. Its a place of predictability where rules apply and sustenance can be acquired. There are other creatures there to help and amuse us. Fun and "play" can distract us from the relentless pounding of an over-active conscioussness who always wants more and more. You can lie down there in that regular world too. You can revel in a passive state of horizontaltude and the body can heal from the wounds incurred during those challenging times in the AUTHENTIC world where you, and only you, perform unimagined feats and negotiate wild whims in a depleting tornado of "work".
And this place of authenticity where the only real stuff actually happens, is not necessarily pleasant (but it is pleasantly necessary). It is a place of uphillbattles and thwarted efforts. You must, both, overpower AND outsmart the matter you have drawn into you immediate envoronment. And the winning is decided NOT by the article achieved but by your own assessment of the event.
So you lick your wounds and go back to digging ditches, filling-out paperwork and eating eggs and bacon. The brain wont stop though, and before you know it you'll need another challenge. Because its way too easy to bend your spoon or hit a baseball.
Folks think that pain is there for telling you when something bad is happening...but its quite possible that the hurting is the signal that the vital things are just about to start happening. The brain is a sissy - so a rested body will take over, in those rarer moments, when it actually matters.
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  #106  
Old 05-15-2009, 11:12 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

"Play" and "escapism" acknowledge the idea that it is an essential priviledge to be in charge of your own destiny, that we are not all-consumed with merely killing meat to survive another day. There are sufficient calories to push in other areas that may or may not be sanctioned. Asking no one's permission, you set off into dangerous waters, because you CAN. And you'd better get as far as humanly possible today, because tomorrow may be a different challenge entirely.

You have typified your homelife as safe/ humdrum. It is not so for everyone.
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  #107  
Old 05-18-2009, 06:48 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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"Play" and "escapism" acknowledge the idea that it is an essential priviledge to be in charge of your own destiny, that we are not all-consumed with merely killing meat to survive another day.
I think this is important.
For me the escapism is quite complex, Everything in nature is physical. It’s all real and we have no control over it. Fall over, and you split your head. No choice. With consciousness, however, we have a very odd physical phenomenon, a kind of trick that nature plays on itself – when we are looking and observing we are not conscious of the act of observing AS physical. We are conscious of the objects in our view as physical, but the act of observing seems to be without physical attributes. So, LOOKING separates the observer from the ‘brute’ fact of the objects in its view AND it allows the observer to apply other things to the situation that are not literally there. For instance, when I look at a landscape, there are brute facts that we can refer to (the earth; the flora and fauna, the creatures, the sky, etc). As the observer, I bring a lot of other stuff with me – my experiences of these landscapes and what I associate with them, my own sense of what BLUE means or what the SUN means, etc. So, consciousness is a separation, and it brings to the world we observe a set of complexities that that NOT THERE.

As Grommet says, escapism is a kind of weird privilege we seem to have – and consciousness is the means by which we evade being just another non-privileged object in nature. Art, then, is a game consciousness plays in acknowledgement of its own ODD relationship to the world. It allows the conscious mind to explore its own weird and wonderful contents, in a way similar perhaps to the explorer who explores the world out there, the brute facts. Art is a mirror of the human presence in the world, it’s not about the objects themselves, it’s about being able to SEE at all!

When Evaldart speaks of the seriousness of art, I agree. Artists seem to take what they do with great seriousness. Perhaps the reference to ‘play and ‘escapism’ doesn’t recognise this aspect of art. Even when I just LOOK at art, I find that something astonishingly important is going on. However, the profound thing in art, the fact that the work and the experience is so valuable MAY still relate to the way the conscious mind turns back in on itself in the art process I’m proposing. Artists make objects that better reflect what is in their own consciousness than any passive looking will ever do. Yep, that landscape is made beautiful by what the viewer brings to it, but that art object remakes the landscape by processing it through consciousness into a NEW object. This new object – LIKE NO OTHER OBJECT IN NATURE - is the transformational key to art.

Consciousness is also something that constantly renews itself from moment to moment, in a sense. It has a history (your life experiences, say), but it is something that sits in a kind of eternal present, whilst it exists. So consciousness is a trick of nature that both recognises brute fact but is not limited by the objects it witnesses. It also possesses the moment-by-moment instabilities of something that is in a state of flux - in an eternal present - so its products, in this case, art, will reflect this - all art objects renew all other art objects, they are a perpetual rebirth of consciousness in its latest version of itself.
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Last edited by Portoro : 05-18-2009 at 07:10 AM.
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  #108  
Old 05-18-2009, 08:28 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

Nice work Cantab. I agree, consciousness IS unnatural. In fact its only likely to give you bright ideas that ignore the proddings of instinct. That excess of awarenes might actually have you doing thigs that make no sense, serve no function or not even consider the future and furtherence of your species...like make Art.

We must take care not to confuse the creative act with creative solutions to problems. Solving problems is the responsibility of nature...its in your DNA, you do it a million times a day, nothing special at all. But a true creative act, seperate and detached from the mundane task of just getting you through another day, is rare, complex and requires a motivated INTENT that disagrees with Nature; belittles and challenges it too. In fact, If real Art is getting made you are thumbing your nose at Nature...and reality as well. You are owning them and there might be a price to pay for this disrespect. Because you can only remain detached for so long...you'll eventually have to go back and join them, get fed for another day, and Nature or Happenstance might be in the mood to punish.

Last edited by evaldart : 05-18-2009 at 09:13 AM.
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  #109  
Old 05-18-2009, 08:54 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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Originally Posted by evaldart View Post
In fact, If real Art is getting made you are thumbing your nose at Nature...and reality too.
Just taking evaldart and I, there is no way we can arrive at an ironclad definition of art, and that's just two of us. For me, real Art is being made when one is appreciating and/or being inspired by nature and reality. I acknowledge that real Art can be made other ways as well, but the art that moves me for the most part tends to be made by people who love nature and use their art to express the love and joy they experience when in its presence. Also, works drawn from the "imagination" that I would guess are actually inspired from insight and perceptions of the nature and reality of a higher realm to which our earthly senses are often not attuned.
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  #110  
Old 05-18-2009, 09:28 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

Imagination...yes Glenn. I'm ALL for imagination. Because imagination is NOT reality, and it defies Nature all the time. Nature doesn't like your imagination because it can distract you from your foraging. If you stop for a minute to carve an "imagined" face on a few of those nuts, while you should be working, you'll have less stored-up for winter. So you see, Nature doesnt like imagination.
But the beauty of our bloated human awareness is that it is the ONE thing that Nature cannot dictate. Nature can hit you with hurricanes, drop a boulder on you, send a bear or a lion over to your house...too many horrific things to mention...but it cannot squash your independednt authenticating asides;. When I'm out in the yard welding in a blizzard I'm sneering in delight, though I know I'll pay dearly (shivers,flus and frostbite), I am visiting pertinence. And cant let something as daft and predictable as Nature get in the way of THAT.

Last edited by evaldart : 05-18-2009 at 10:45 AM.
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  #111  
Old 05-18-2009, 09:35 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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Originally Posted by GlennT View Post
For me, real Art is being made when one is appreciating and/or being inspired by nature and reality. I acknowledge that real Art can be made other ways as well, but the art that moves me for the most part tends to be made by people who love nature and use their art to express the love and joy they experience when in its presence. Also, works drawn from the "imagination" that I would guess are actually inspired from insight and perceptions of the nature and reality of a higher realm to which our earthly senses are often not attuned.
Nicely said, Glenn. It's certainly true for me.
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  #112  
Old 05-18-2009, 11:25 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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For me, real Art is being made when one is appreciating and/or being inspired by nature and reality.
Thanks all for your input, I might be able to narrow it down a bit, but since there's always the subjective aspect, I doubt it will ever be nailed down beyond a matter of opinion.
And who's opinion carries most weight?
That, of course, is also a matter of opinion!
Anyway, Glenn's latest (along with all the others of course) has got me thinking, although appreciating or being inspired might cause me to write a crappy song. I wouldn't call that art unless it turned out I was good at it (by fluke or design). Which I'm not, by the way!
..........
So how about
'Art: The process of skillfully or expertly conveying an inspired realization to another.'

Works of art are the resulting things.
That might encompass poetry, music, painting, sculpting, dance, whatever, although 'inspired' might be a bit too vague.
...................
Have at it, I'm sure it won't last long!
Improvements are welcome!
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  #113  
Old 05-18-2009, 01:47 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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For me, real Art is being made when one is appreciating and/or being inspired by nature and reality.
Its that reality thing thats the problem in most art. Its funny that when there is too much of it in a work people complain. And if there is not enough of it people complain too. Other complaints surface when people think other peoples' realities are fantasies and of course, the reverse. This is why I like art that creates its own excuse for existence. Of course I also love art whose excuses I don't understand.
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  #114  
Old 05-19-2009, 03:17 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

If we define art as being born out of an appreciation of nature and reality I’m not sure that we are referring to all art. I come back to my point about the bead worker - I can see the appreciation of nature in my wife's bead work, but no substantial interest in exploring reality! However, I do think she is indulging in a kind aesthetic play with the natural world, that stems from the intriguing possibilities of sequences of things (the beads) and in putting together intriguing pieces of material in relationships (aesthetic; mathematical, etc). I also think she keys into another aspect of consciousness – its expansiveness. Consciousness is experienced as bigger than anything it observes, it contains multitudes, to quote Whitman. It takes, uses, rejects, moves on from everything it surveys. Through it we also hold images of all that is presented to consciousness. So, unlike most physical objects that have dimensions (clear limitations, in other words), consciousness seems to be bigger than all it surveys. As a result, I think, when my wife is stringing beads she is acting out the relationship between consciousness and its objects. She takes objects, places them in relationships, manages those relationships into other objects (necklaces) that ONLY mean something because of what she has done to them. Consciousness is transformational, it does not just recognise the world, it manages it, selects, deselects, oversees, rejects, rearranges. This is also what defines art, right down to the bead work.

Regrettably, part of the problem with this thread is that we are proposing that, as practitioners of the arts, we are somehow in a special position to define it. This may not be the case. What we may just be doing is offering a DESCRIPTION of our experiences, not a definition at all. Personally, I’d look to the neurosciences for a definition. For instance, Semir Zeki (neurophysiologist) proposes: “Artists are neurologists, studying the brain with techniques that are unique to them and reaching interesting but unspecified conclusions about the organisation of the brain.” Science in the 20th century has taught us that what we THINK we are doing and what we actually ARE doing may not be the same thing.
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Last edited by Portoro : 05-19-2009 at 06:03 AM.
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  #115  
Old 05-19-2009, 09:11 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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Science in the 20th century has taught us that what we THINK we are doing and what we actually ARE doing may not be the same thing
Of course that statement refers to itself too. And, I know science can't teach us anything about art...it would have to define art first. Seeing as how art is personal experience, it can't be defined except to a vague degree for one self only. That wasn't scientific. But it is true. Ha! This is truth science is humbled by...personal truth!

Last edited by jOe~ : 05-19-2009 at 10:27 AM. Reason: clARity
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  #116  
Old 05-19-2009, 11:50 AM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

Portoro, good post and an interesting notion on reality. It is a bit of a modern regurgitation of Plato I think; what is and what really is and so forth.. Philosophy as much as nueroscience perhaps.. Anyway, what interests me is the bit about your wife and the bead making/stringing and the notion that nothing has changed much for 100,000 years as far as human activity is concerned. I pondered some time ago to negotiate a difference between 70,000 year old necklaces found in caves and their counterparts, the venus statues/carvings and another one has recently been found setting the dates back yet again for our ancestors to around that same time as the earliest forms of jewelry. It would be interesting to watch (if it were possible) the theoretical development of say, the gorilla and to see what exactly they came up with first as they evolved, face paint, beads, perhaps leaves wrapped with vines around the feet as the first kind of Nike's/sandals and the eventual conclusions that the development of these implements force them to reach; Evaldart's "Unnecessary activity" that goes against the grain of nature and spits in its face,... Art. Was Art in all truth man's final invention? Has anything as profound or basic been invented since? Strip away modern society and implements (of all kinds) and we have a bead maker and rock carver as husband and wife. Maybe that's as good as we get.
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  #117  
Old 05-19-2009, 12:10 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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Originally Posted by Portoro View Post
Regrettably, part of the problem with this thread is that we are proposing that, as practitioners of the arts, we are somehow in a special position to define it. This may not be the case. What we may just be doing is offering a DESCRIPTION of our experiences, not a definition at all.
Wise words.
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  #118  
Old 05-19-2009, 01:31 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

Great thread.

It seems to me that Art (big A) is defined as something, that man has interacted with that inspires the viewer. I think this goes to Joe's assertion of Truth. The problem with Truth is it sounds so big when there are big truths and little truths. Portoro's wife's bead work is about little truths, these rocks next to each other make me happy (although I think beads as a medium could be used for big truths too). So the wrangling that occurs seems to involve establishing some thresholds-

Is provoking a quick smile or flash of thought sufficiently inspirational or does it need to be life changing inspiration?
Does it need to be inspirational to everyone who views it or just the artist (whom evalart seems to think is the only one who can truly experience it)?

I'd argue against these thresholds as a definition but I think they can influence one's judgment on quality of art. The Sistine Chapel has hugely influenced millions of people-great art, the mango strawberry cake I made last week was mildly pleasurable for five minutes-not so good art. But, it's all art.

More useful definitions in day to day life would be the difference between fine art and craft, daily sustenance and gourmet, essay and poetry, noise and music, etc. I think those definitions speak to the type and level of inspiration that they provide.
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  #119  
Old 05-19-2009, 02:09 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

Art: Transfering your passion into your work.
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  #120  
Old 05-19-2009, 02:31 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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Art: Transfering your passion into your work.
Nice!
One thing pops into my head. What if I was passionate about something but sucked at it?
Does art have to accomplished to be art, or not.

If so, how about...

Art: Skillfully transferring your passion into your work.

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  #121  
Old 05-19-2009, 03:14 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

What if you're really good at poker & really love it and it pays the bills, sort of constituting 'work'? is it then art?
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  #122  
Old 05-19-2009, 03:38 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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ironclad definition of 'art'
If you have to define it, you already cornered it in. Art has to be free if life can't be.
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  #123  
Old 05-19-2009, 05:20 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

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What if you're really good at poker & really love it and it pays the bills, sort of constituting 'work'? is it then art?
Great question! Let's see what some of our definitions would decide.
Does being good at poker count as art if...

Wikipedia.
Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions.
Mmm. Poker can be sensual and emotional, so maybe, yes.

Art: Transfering your passion into your work.
Yes.

Art: Skillfully transferring your passion into your work.
Yes.

Art: The process of skillfully or expertly conveying an inspired realization to another.
No.
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  #124  
Old 05-19-2009, 07:24 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

If we must belabor the ineffectiveness of language : "work" constitutes ANY damned activity.
The "work" that Utility can find no place for...even after a discussion with Function, Revolution, Resistance and Servitude; is probably Art.

In purity, whatever you give-out just to be sustained cannot be Art...Sorry. It might be an offshoot, or a relative, but its important that you know that if its made for THEM, it is something else. Keep your Art unaffected...if they have anything to say about it you might as well be digging a ditch.
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  #125  
Old 05-19-2009, 10:24 PM
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Re: Iron clad definition of 'Art'

And everyone should dig at least one ditch in their lives until their hands are blistered just so they know the difference.

And tree stumps don't count unless they're really big ones..
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