Robin Cembalest
Executive Editor, ARTnews

What is art?

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If the artist says it is, it is.

Robin Cembalest

ARTnews Executive ditor Robin Cembalest is an award-winning investigative reporter who has published articles in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and El Pais, in addition to many other newspapers and magazines in the United States and Europe.


Question: What is art?

Robin Cembalest: I think the easiest definition is that it’s art if the artist says it’s art. For example, we're doing a section now on ecological art and part of--one of the articles is about artists who try to kind of heal the world by planting trees, cleaning rivers, planting seeds that leach toxins out of the soil. What makes it art? They say it’s art. I mean, you can debate it all you want; in the end it comes to that.

Question: What is beauty?

Robin Cembalest: What is beauty? That is I mean, beauty again is totally subjective, I don’t know that there is a quite away to say what beauty is, you could say that beauty is what you do not consider ugly, I guess.

Recorded: 1/14/08