Oct 28, 2008

Exclamation art and design

If one of the definitions we have concerning art is that it serves its public by reflecting and explaining the world at a particular moment in history, it is hard to believe that design does not serve in a similar way. In any case, the issue has become blurred since art currently seems mostly about money, and designers seem to be increasingly concerned about ethics, the environment, and their effect on the world. There seems to be much confusion about what we mean when we use the word art. I have a recommendation. We eliminate the word art and replace it with work and develop the following descriptions:

1. Work that goes beyond its functional intention and moves us in deep and mysterious ways we call great work.
2. Work that is conceived and executed with elegance and rigor we call
3. Work that meets its intended need honestly and without pretense we call simply work.
4. Everything else, the sad and shoddy stuff of daily life, can come under the heading of bad work.

This simple change will eliminate anxiety for thousands of people who worry about whether they are artists or not, but this is not its most significant consequence. More importantly, it can restore art to a central, useful activity in daily life—something for which we have been waiting for a very long while.
Milton Glaser