good art to me is exactly like a joke.

I think this is a good joke to illustrate my point.

"two men walk into a bar and say 'OW!!' "

what's happened in this joke?
Two ideas (two men who walk into a bar and the word "ow!") have been intentionally juxtaposed to create a third idea in the mind of the listener. "oh haha, they walked in an actual bar, rather than a drinking bar, and hurt themselves, how clever" you might say to yourself. The person telling the joke never explicitely told you that was what happened, but it was their intention of implying it.

and art is the same to me. At least two images, symbols or ideas, are rendered together and a third idea is formed in the viewers mind. Some people are only capable of telling one liners like the above. other people can riff stimulating nonsense like a wacky stand up commedian. and still others, with the dazzle and distract tactics of a close-up magician, can delight and confound our every sense. but more often than not, and here's where I think the analogy holds up particularly well, artists simply can't tell a joke. With too-long shaggy dog jokes, or jokes so esoteric that only the teller gets it, I think a lot of artists hide behind the bizzare novelty of their work and forget that the viewer is more important that the work or the artist. Because only the viewer is capable of making the art mean anything. Maybe they think they would be pandering to make art readily accessible to the lowest common denominator. But think of the last time you heard a really great stand up commedian. I'm willing to bet that anyone could have got their jokes, but that they were so funny because of the wit and cunning used to create images in your mind, with only a few well placed words.

Art is a joke for all the other bones besides the funny one...

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