Portal:The arts

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The arts or creative arts are a wide range of human practices of creative expression, storytelling, and cultural participation. They encompass multiple diverse and plural modes of thinking, doing, and being, in an extremely broad range of media. Both dynamic and a characteristically constant feature of human life, they have developed into innovative, stylized, and sometimes intricate forms. This is often achieved through sustained and deliberate study, training, and/or theorizing within a particular tradition, across generations, and even between civilizations. The arts are a vehicle through which human beings cultivate distinct social, cultural, and individual identities while transmitting values, impressions, judgements, ideas, visions, spiritual meanings, patterns of life, and experiences across time and space.

Prominent examples of the arts include:

They can employ skill and imagination to produce objects and performances, convey insights and experiences, and construct new environments and spaces.

The arts can refer to common, popular, or everyday practices as well as more sophisticated, systematic, or institutionalized ones. They can be discrete and self-contained or combine and interweave with other art forms, such as the combination of artwork with the written word in comics. They can also develop or contribute to some particular aspect of a more complex art form, as in cinematography. By definition, the arts themselves are open to being continually redefined. The practice of modern art, for example, is a testament to the shifting boundaries, improvisation and experimentation, reflexive nature, and self-criticism or questioning that art and its conditions of production, reception, and possibility can undergo.

As both a means of developing capacities of attention and sensitivity and as ends in themselves, the arts can simultaneously be a form of response to the world and a way that our responses and what we deem worthwhile goals or pursuits are transformed. From prehistoric cave paintings to ancient and contemporary forms of ritual to modern-day films, art has served to register, embody, and preserve our ever-shifting relationships to each other and to the world. (Full article...)

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How a Mosquito Operates (1912) is a silent animated film by American cartoonist Winsor McCay. The six-minute short, about a giant mosquito tormenting a dozing man who tries in vain to shoo it away, is one of the earliest works of animation. It is considered far ahead of its contemporaries in its technical quality. McCay had a reputation for his proficiency as a cartoonist, exemplified in the children's comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland. He delved into the infant art of animation with the 1911 film Little Nemo, and followed its success by adapting an episode of his comic strip Dream of the Rarebit Fiend into How a Mosquito Operates. McCay gives the animation naturalistic timing, motion, and weight, and displays a more coherent story and developed character than in Little Nemo. The film was enthusiastically received when McCay first unveiled it during a chalk talk (a vaudeville act with drawings) and in a theatrical release that soon followed. In 1914 McCay further developed his character animation style in his best-known animated work, Gertie the Dinosaur.

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Henry Moore in workshop by Allan Warren

Henry Moore was a British artist and sculptor. Born into a poor mining family in the Yorkshire town of Castleford, he became well-known for his large-scale abstract cast bronze and carved marble sculptures; substantially supported by the British art establishment, Moore helped to introduce a particular form of modernism into Britain. His ability to satisfy large-scale commissions made him exceptionally wealthy towards the end of his life. However, he lived frugally and most of his wealth went to endow the Henry Moore Foundation, which continues to support education and promotion of the arts. His signature form is a pierced reclining figure, first influenced by a Toltec-Maya sculpture known as "Chac Mool", which he had seen as a plaster cast in Paris in 1925. Early versions are pierced conventionally as a bent arm reconnects with the body. Later, more abstract versions, are pierced directly through the body in order to explore the concave and convex shapes. These more extreme piercings developed in parallel with Barbara Hepworth's sculptures. Hepworth first pierced a torso after misreading a review of one of Henry Moore's early shows. (Full article...)

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