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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bagging A Bargain

I was out in Norwich yesterday, with my friend Moira. She wanted to know where to buy beads, so I took her to various places that stock them...a real hardship for me, you understand!! I also wanted to buy a book...well, okay, several. I've been reading the Crown of Stars series of books by Kate Elliot. I bought the first four recently, enjoyed them muchly, and wanted to continue. In Waterstone's, we got the penultimate two of the seven, but had to go to another two bookshops to find the third. Dirty work, but someone had to do it... And on the way to the checkout, I found this lovely thing, Milton Glaser's 'Art Is Work', in Borders in their Remaindered section, but with no price on it. So, I took it to the counter and asked. £9.99, was the answer. When she rang it through, though, she said, my, that was a good buy, it was priced at £45 originally...

It's an interesting book, strong visuals as you might expect, not the kind of book I would normally buy, but it was reduced, which made me look, and I found I really liked the writing, especially the introduction. He says;

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 rigour we call good work.

3. Work that meets its intended need honestly and without pretence 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'

I'm with you, Milton. And I'm very glad I bought your book (Milton Glaser, Art is Work, ISBN 0-500-51028-8. And if you can't afford the book, go look at the'll love it.


Shirley said...

Looks like an interesting book, Marion. I like the definitions of art as work.

Caitlin said...

I really like those definitions, too. Interesting illustrations on the site - not someone I'd come across before - thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful quote - I've copied it into my sketch book.
Thanks Marion.

Linn said...

What a good resolution regarding this contentious subject.