What unusual thing do you consider "art"?

After seeing several threads where people debate whether a particular painters creations are actually “art” or not …

I am not big on paintings and sculpture and such as far as art is concerned. A lot of what I see represented (and liked) as art, I consider unattractive. However, it doesn’t concern me because I realize that art is what moves you, what provokes emotional thought, so it is going to vary in the extreme between different people.

But, I am a car guy. I love metal and machines. To me, pictures of beautifully machined billet metal and polished castings are a wonderous thing to look at.

I can follow a thread on a car forum where a professional engine builder has assembled a racing engine and documented the process with picture after glorious picture. Beautifully carved and crafted steel and aluminum, looking like a Gullivers version of an expensive Swiss watch.

And not just engines, but also accessories and transmissions and axle gears - all things that must be chosen and assembled in order to handle many, many corrals of horsepower.

Truly, were I a rich man, I would not have paintings and sculptures and fancy furniture in my home - I would have fully assembled American V8 engines mounted on engine stands where I could look at them and admire their beauty every day. I would have rare carburetor and intake manifolds mounted on the walls, engine rotating assemblies spread out in well lit glass display cases.

It is not uncommon on many car forums for someone to link to a collection of finely built engines and details of their construction. It is often referred to as “engine porn”. It is not that there is any sexual attraction for the parts, but there is an emotional appreciation that pleases the eye and mind of a car guy that matches the the delight and awe of a person struck by a particular painting or picture or sculpture.

So, what unconventional things do you consider as much “art” as a painting or picture?

And motorcycles.

Creation in general. Particularly pictures of outer space - it’s just so mind boggling and breathtaking. Whether you believe it was created by a higher power (as I do) or believe it happened randomly - it’s art, dammit!

I once saw a sample personality question (like MMPP?) where it asked if I liked artistic things or mathematical things.


Hadn’t the test designers ever seen a beautiful proof? One that just filled you with awe and appreciation of the Universe? That amazed them with the genius of the proof’s creator? The “or” does not belong in that question.

A shapely woman in tight jeans, from behind.

That, my friend, is art.

Anything man-made. Really. Take a look at any man-made object near you right now. Chances are it’s not purely functional. Someone had to make an esthetic decision about it.

For a very mundane example, let’s look at my pen. It’s white, with a blue grip. Why that particular shade of blue? Who picked it, and why? And the grip has grooves cut in them. They are in a wave shape. Why not straight? Why are there grooves in the first place? Someone made that decision for a reason.

No doubt someone will be along to say that’s not art, because it wasn’t designed to evoke an emotional response. But is that true? What if I got an emotional response from it anyway? Does it become art in that case?

Northbound 95 heading into NYC. There is a refinery or some other industrial complex to the east. It’s breathtaking day or night–which have completely different looks. I’d love to get out and take a few photographs, but I’m pretty sure that would be a Very Bad Idea.

Anyone know what the complex is?

Someone eating a rubber tire to the tune of “Flight of the Bumblebees.”

Video games. Not something Roger Ebert would agree with, but many games are art to me. People just find it difficult to consider it art because its also useful and serve some purpose, whereas much of art is just there and you can’t interact with it.

Product/package design. I think it’s extremely overlooked. Even something as simple as a flat screen TV is very elegant looking, or even something more unassuming such as a bottle of shampoo has very deliberate shapes and curves to it. They may not directly provoke and emotional response, but they are very subliminal in nature. Yes, this is mainly a means to the end of marketing, but I don’t think that takes away from it.

The layout inside certain hifi amplifiers. When you see the hood off and look at the spacing, or the neat layout, perhaps even the symmetry in some. This is never going to be seen by the cast majority of people and yet someone went to a lot of trouble to make them look good inside.

Rocks. It’s more “found art” than “man-made art”, but I can’t look at a polarised petrographic thin section and not go “Woah!” Granted, that’s a particularly colourful and exotic example, but even the boring monochrome of perthite can be beautiful. And it’s not just thin sections, either.

Wow, that makes me feel like I’m in church.

Sea Shells-they are so beautiful.
I picked up some “turkey wing” bivalve shells in Florida-they have a straight end-which deviates from straight by microns. How do they do it?

I would agree. The design of the Coca Cola bottle has been an icon, world-wide, for generations. Many of the 1950’s “modern” appliances are collector’s items today, simply because of the futuristic design elements and choices of colors. It would be quite easy to fill a gallery full of products that were beautifully designed/packaged. As a quick example, Google images of radios from the 50’s. Some of those are true works of art.

Many posters will be glad to know (if you didn’t already) that there is an entire museum dedicated to design: The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

There’s a place in Rockport that sells sea shells (not far from the sea shore). Crazy stuff that you won’t find around here. And the prices are very reasonable.

I’m just sayin’.

I toured a giant industrial complex as part of a job interview near Houston. It had started construction in the 20s or 30s and expanded for a long time before at some point being mostly unused except for small sections making rather dangerous chemicals. The rusty pipes, decaying tanks, and sprinkling of new shiny metal equipment was beautiful.

I found out later that my grandfather had helped build parts of it shortly after high school as a welder/pipefitter.

Industrial Art is still Art! Definitely.

I’m fond of Change Ringing. Just take a set of bells of different tones, and ring them in different orders. It’s mathematical. It’s hypnotic! It requires skill and timing. Is it “Art?” I guess someone could easily argue yes…or no. But I would say yes: it is an act of creation, under strict rules (which themselves were created by someone.) The result is a kind of beauty (although not everyone likes it.)

Cooking is another form of Art, although there are, again, those would would disagree.

Can a term like Art ever be formally defined? Like Beauty, there is too much subjectivity involved. Your Art might be my Craft, and his mere mechanical procedure!

Oh you must be talking Jersey right? Try 1/9 (“one and nine”) at night. I think I get you.