Among other things, Tara Donovan has constructed a four foot high cube of toothpicks. Is it art? Damn straight! Is it fine art? Beats the hell outta me. And I could care less. But when someone designs something with an eye toward its aesthetics then, to some degree, it has to qualify as art. This applies whether it's an office stapler, a painting in a museum, a child's drawing, a web page layout, or whatever!
Does this demean 'art'? Only in the eyes of the Gatekeepers. You know the Gatekeepers, right? They're the ones telling you that you aren't enjoying that glass of wine properly, that all books should be intellectually stimulating, and that pop music is always worse than classical. They don't want us to enjoy ourselves unless we follow the convoluted formulae they invented and, among other things, theywant to keep art out of the hands of the people.
They won't be able to, of course. We're all artists, and it will come out, one way or another. For some their art is expressed in sculpturing a block of marble. For others, it's in arranging their desk so that it is functional as well as attractive. Some are better at it than others, but we shouldn't let that stop us. Art is a basic human impulse. So go out today - doodle a flower in the margin of your notes, take a picture of a flower in your yard, paint a horse on your cave wall. And while you're at it, grab some velveeta and a box of wine and make a party of it!
(This post inspired, in part, by my evening last night. After grocery shopping, I settled down with a glass of Macallan 12 year old scotch (no smokiness, yum!), a stack of sour-cream and onion pringles and a LArry Niven sci-fi novel. Now that's living!)