Everything is Art

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The idea that our work doesn't speak for itself was a new concept for me. In the last couple of years, I have had professors who were advocates of close reading. While close reading, one does not read or worry about anything beside the text. I had a professor who told us not to read footnotes. I never really 100% agreed with the idea of close reading. I feel like sometimes we need to know a little bit of background on the author or the time period to really get a piece.
So, I totally get what Kleon is saying!

There is a story behind everything. Every piece or art, every poem. Check out this painting that I saw in a coffee shop in downtown Greenville.

(Also, if we want to go further: everything is art. My outfit, a stack of books, etc.)

Good story telling matters.

This is a picture of the first page of a short story that I wrote last year. There is a story behind it: I lived in Boston a few summers ago on Commonwealth Avenue. I had this dream where I was watching two people run down Commonwealth Avenue, which is essentially the story. The story is not about the characters or even the plot, it is instead about the concept of time.

If you would like to read more, let me know. I would love that!




mkozma's picture


I totally agree with you here on your views on close reading, and that sometimes we do need to look more closely at the entire context of the artwork before we really understand the artist's intended meaning.

Poetry for example has always been one of those things for me--I know I personally always do better understanding a poem after reading the context of it or the author's biography. Sometimes art is hard to get--and after asking these questions and finding some kind of answer it's a little easier to understand.

Great point.

laurenew's picture

There is a definitely a story behind everything

I agree, sometimes close reading isn't the best way to really understand a text. I think it's important to understand the context and the background information to really appreciate a piece of work. There's definitely a story behind everything, and sometimes the story is more interesting than the final product. I really enjoyed the excerpt of your short story you shared!

maisyjoe's picture

The idea of work not speaking

The idea of work not speaking for itself was definitely new to me as well, because I feel like through close reading we are taught to consider nothing but the work itself but I now realize that the story is just as important. Great blog!

briana.993's picture

That painting is gorgeous! I

That painting is gorgeous! I totally understand your point about close reading. No matter how much meaning it lets you tease out of one word I always feel like we are missing so much about the over arching argument!