My turn: Art hard to define, value

Continuing with my topic of French Impressionism from last week, there’s something about standing in front of an original Picasso – not a reproduction – that makes you say, as a former co-worker of mine did, “I can’t believe I’m standing in front of a real Picasso.”

For me, my new–found expertise in French art in 2000 left me partial to Renoir and Monet. I recently checked out a baby book from the library for my grandson, Giovanni, titled, “Picnic with Monet.” You’re never too young to appreciate Monet.

This French art exhibit in Abilene, Texas, that I wrote about last week was not without controversy due to nude Renoir paintings which school children weren’t allowed to see, resparking the old art vs. porn debate.

My concern is not so much over art vs. pornography, but over what exactly is art? And who should decide? And how do you put a price tag on art?

TV actor and comedian Cheech Marin owns the largest collection of “Chicano” art in the country, valued in the millions. Marin wants to elevate the status of Chicano art which he calls “American,” not “Latin American.”

Is this Chicano art any different than graffiti someone spray paints on a wall? On the other hand, is it any different than historic frescoes hanging in The Vatican?