MINDLESS ENTERTAINMENT: A new foray into the artfully awful

It's hard to understand what actually constitutes "art" these days, as it seems as though almost anyone can draw on a canvas (or canvas sneaker for that matter) and claim that it's "art."

I could go on and on about the different kinds of art and how I rank them from best to worst; my real gripe, however is with performance art.

Do not confuse performance art with the performing arts. These are separate. The latter consists of theater, dance and other musical or instrumental performances. Performance art, on the other hand, is absolutely ridiculous.

According to a semi-reliable source (Wikipedia, anyone?), performance art is "any situation involving time, space, the performer's body and a relationship between the performer and the audience."

To me, this is not art. This is what happens when people leave the house in the morning. When I leave my dorm room, I can say that I take on the "performer" role when I check the time, move about in space, use my body as a rack for clothes and accessories I like and interact with the audience (other people). Does this make me an artist? I didn't think so.

During a recent trip to the Museum of Modern Art, I witnessed an exhibit by a performance artist. In the exhibit, the artist sat in a chair at a small table with an empty chair at the other end. She encouraged someone, anyone in the crowd, to sit in said empty chair and stare at her. That was all.

Like the other hundreds of people at the museum that day, I stopped and watched this atrocity take place. Since I paint and draw every once in a while, I tried to give this woman the benefit of the doubt. "She's just trying to express herself," I said to myself, realizing that if this woman could get her own exhibit in MoMA she must be some sort of big deal, and maybe if I thought nice things about her she would tell me her secrets of success.

Then, after the warranted 30 seconds or so that I spent looking at, well, nothing, I moved on to look at the brightly colored paintings and expressive charcoal drawings.

You may scoff and say that I'm just an art snob and maybe I am, but I challenge you all to witness this exhibit without feeling the same way.