Why Art?

Why Art?

What is “Art”? It’s widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella and can manifest in so many different ways. Art can be self indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, or expressive, or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed gra...

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Title:Why Art?
Author:Eleanor Davis
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Why Art? Reviews

  • David Schaafsma

    Well, that was unexpected. This is to my mind one of the best comics creations I have encountered this year, or in awhile. And not exactly a graphic novel, exactly. But it is, too, finally, as a story emerges. Let me explain:

    Great cartoonist/illustrator Davis creates a book with a kind of textbook title, to help students of art understand the nature of art, gradually appears to spoof and unravel that purpose in surrealistic or absurdist ways, and then shows us she has been serious all along, rea

    Well, that was unexpected. This is to my mind one of the best comics creations I have encountered this year, or in awhile. And not exactly a graphic novel, exactly. But it is, too, finally, as a story emerges. Let me explain:

    Great cartoonist/illustrator Davis creates a book with a kind of textbook title, to help students of art understand the nature of art, gradually appears to spoof and unravel that purpose in surrealistic or absurdist ways, and then shows us she has been serious all along, really. Her book really could be used as a textbook or reflection on the nature of art and the purpose of the imagination in the world, after all.

    In the end the text, which early on is a series of illustrations and cartoons about ideas about color and form, evolves into an allegory about a collective of artists that calls attention to the fact that technical issues are really not the most important aspect of what art is about. Art is ultimately about its relationship to life, and to its transformative powers. Art is at its best heart and soul and society.

    But we get to that simple, possibly reductive point in unexpected ways. And we do look at a range of possibilities in art, ranging from realistic representation to performance art. Finally, we do grapple with questions artists have struggled with for centuries such as the centrality of and definitions of beauty.

    Maybe this book is not for everyone, if you like conventional art and tales, but this is a book not written by a scholar of art but an artist. Why Art? was definitely for me. In the end it gets wild, seemingly out of control, and it actually moved me in a way that surprised me. I loved it.

  • Carolee Wheeler

    Eleanor, what does the inside of your mind look like?

  • Sophie Croteau

    I didn’t think a 20 minutes read could make me cry.

  • Liz Yerby

    Part comics, part textbook, Davis is asking some big questions. a very enjoyable little ride.

  • vostendrasamigos yotengolibros

    Why everything Eleanor Davis creates is so perfect and beautiful? I'm stunned really so sensitive so deep so poetic, I just love Eleanor Davis. I really recommend this.

    But if the toxic masculinity in this society has affected that much that you can't read poetry without feeling violate this is not for you and I think it's not the job of author deconstruct your fear of sensitivity, it's yours, so don't be a as;)ole.

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau

    Immersive and inquisitive - unique perspective on the motivational aspects of creating art.

  • Derek Royal

    What I thought would be a more expository text actually turned out to be something completely different. And fascinating. In many ways this is an enigmatic text, but multiple readings reveal a more coherent message, or messages, about the potential of creativity.

  • Stewart Tame

    Hmmm … this wasn't what I was expecting. For some reason I thought this was going to be nonfiction, a meditation on the whats and whys of Art. I suppose, on some level, it is exactly that. But on the surface at least, it's a dreamlike journey that explores Art as a metaphor for life, or life as a metaphor for Art. Or both. Or neither. As you’ve probably guessed, it resists easy interpretation.

    Honestly, I’m kind of underwhelmed. It's good for what it is, but, as far as trippy, arty comics go, it'

    Hmmm … this wasn't what I was expecting. For some reason I thought this was going to be nonfiction, a meditation on the whats and whys of Art. I suppose, on some level, it is exactly that. But on the surface at least, it's a dreamlike journey that explores Art as a metaphor for life, or life as a metaphor for Art. Or both. Or neither. As you’ve probably guessed, it resists easy interpretation.

    Honestly, I’m kind of underwhelmed. It's good for what it is, but, as far as trippy, arty comics go, it's fairly average. I don't hate it. I don't love it. I don't really regret having read it, but it just ultimately was not particularly memorable.

  • Adam Stone

    Is art blue? Is it orange? How big is art? These questions and more are involved in Eleanor Davis's "Why Art?"

    There are several five star reviews already about how wonderful this book is, and about how they are going to sleep with it next to their bed.

    I'm very happy people have found joy in this book.

    For me, it seemed really empty.

    An artist who is himself flimsy is made of paper maiche.

    A performance artist who sincerely says "I love you" to her audience is sincere.

    So?

    I had the same sense of "

    Is art blue? Is it orange? How big is art? These questions and more are involved in Eleanor Davis's "Why Art?"

    There are several five star reviews already about how wonderful this book is, and about how they are going to sleep with it next to their bed.

    I'm very happy people have found joy in this book.

    For me, it seemed really empty.

    An artist who is himself flimsy is made of paper maiche.

    A performance artist who sincerely says "I love you" to her audience is sincere.

    So?

    I had the same sense of "shrug emoji" that I had reading Rupi Kaur's poetry. These statements and ideas seem like they should be deep, but they don't actually say anything, and provide me with no emotional connection to, well, anything.

    It does revisit its revelations about characters by the end, so it builds to...something.

    I guess I would recommend it to people who like Instagram poetry but wish it had a long, disjointed narrative.

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