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The Boundary Between Art and Design

August 10, 2018

 

 

 

Debates about art and design never end. Before arguing about what is art and what is not, the definition of art has to be clarified. Here are the definitions of art and design in English by Oxford dictionaries respectively.

 

[Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Design: A plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is made.]

 

However, the definition and value of art have changed. Whether a work is art or design depends on the places it is displayed and who created it.

 

Pictures of 32 Campell’s soup cans and an inverted urinal can be arts when they are submitted by artists and exhibited in art museums. People might not appreciate the beauty or emotional power of the works but the message and ideology send from the creators. That is, the artistic quality no longer lies in the art work itself. On the other hand, works of art can be priced and sold like merchandises, and they can be duplicated massively like products. Andy Warhol's silk screen printing works were an example. Art works have even become a product design such as T-shirts, puzzles and notebooks printed with Impressionists’ or cubists’ works.

 

As for design, product design in particular, the purpose has also shifted from providing functions and visual pleasures to express creators’ feelings. In some cases, the essential quality and elements of design have drastically declined and even being abandoned. Design becomes a manifestation of art. For example, the Juicy Salif, designed by Philippe Patrick Starck, is more a kitchen decoration than a lemon squeezer, and Jacob Cress’s Oops. Uh oh, the Poor Chair has lost its function as a chair completely.

 

Photo by Smithsonian American Art Museum : https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/oops-71623

 

Does it mean that art and design are classified no longer according to the function and purpose?

 

 

 

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Tainan City,Taiwan 台南市