For many Americans, art may be defined in a number of ways. Warhol believed most Americans thought art was first and foremost a person’s first name! Others feel art is something that looks good on the wall over the couch! There are some Americans who believe art chronicles both the time and the context of the artist’s life. There are perhaps a few who still believe that art and artists have a responsibility to express something significant with their ‘gift’ be it beauty, criticism, insight, or some form of thought-provoking insight. In an interview with a journalist Billy Al Bengston was asked to reflect back on his career as a Southern California artist in the early Post WWII days and express his thoughts. The artist made the following observation: “For me, the heyday was in 1959. It was before the Ferus Gallery moved across the street, in the days when Ed Kienholz and Walter Hopps ran it. At that time, art was taken very seriously in terms of being an artist, and not as a profession.”
As art students close to graduating from an art program of study, how do you see art? What does art mean to you in 2017? And, what is your role as an artist in the 21st century?
Billy Al Bengston, Venice, 1973
Billy Al Bengston, Sonny, 1961