About Art

What is Art?

Art has been defined in many different ways throughout history. Many of the art objects in art museums today were not conceived of as art at the time of their making, yet are categorized as art currently. The importance of these objects in the various cultures that created them is undeniable, but the reasons for creating them may be quite different from the forces that guide the artist of today.

In the tradition of Western civilization, historically, art has often been defined as being skill-based. Whether in ceramics, design, drawing, painting, printmaking or sculpture, art was considered to be the cultivation of skills in the principles and practices of a particular medium to produce objects of beauty. Since what is considered beautiful changes from culture to culture and through time, definitions of art based on skill or beauty do not seem to tell the whole story.

What is Art in the Twenty-First Century?

Art in the twenty-first century is much too broad to be pigeonholed within such narrow constraints. The artists of today can choose their medium from paint to pixels to produce work that goes beyond the "arts of imitation" to become anything from a subjective expression of their personal world view to a means of communicating information for a client through a skillful combination of words and images.

Whether your medium is steel, clay, charcoal or paint, the cultivation of basic principles of design still apply, and applying these skills to achieve successful, professional results is still a goal, even though ideals of beauty have changed radically in the last century.

Art can be "an instrument for more advanced studies in the work of life ".* The contemporary artist requires a high degree of self-awareness and a capacity for critical response to the human condition on a global scale. This requires the application of intellect and intuition, as well as the technical skills that must be acquired to communicate the concepts behind the work. This is more than a "knack". It is a "work of life". Our program prepares you for this work.

* Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like more information about art at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Norman Taber
Office: Myers Fine Arts 206
Phone: (518) 564-2495
Email: norman.taber@plattsburgh.edu

Kimberly Hall-Stone, Secretary
Office: Myers Fine Arts 220B
Phone: (518) 564-2179
Fax: (518) 564-2199
Email: art@plattsburgh.edu

SUNY Plattsburgh
Art Department
Myers Fine Arts 220 B
Plattsburgh, NY 12901