Speaker discusses influences of art on life

Juilliard professor emphasizes art is more about actions than objects

For Eric Booth, who travels the world speaking about the support of artists and teaches at The Juilliard School, art is more about actions than objects.

Booth calls himself an "agent of artistic experience," and said his colleagues write that title down on their business cards.

"We should focus on the verbs of art, not the nouns of art," Booth said Tuesday during his UniverCity 2002 hour-long presentation in the Forum Tent.

"America loves nouns," he said. "Art is about what verbs you bring to the encounter and what verbs the artists use to create the work."

Booth also illustrated this idea through a "what if" exercise, demonstrating that art comes with attention and concentration.

"Just because you have your hands on clay doesn't mean something artistic is happening," he said.

Part of the exercise to illustrate this point came in the form of simple pretending.

Booth asked the audience to imagine the stage in the Forum Tent was the setting of a play about to take place. He then asked audience members to offer up ideas about what this play could be about.

After a few minutes, people in the audience were coming up with ideas about a secret garden or an important person speaking. Booth said this is the beginning of coming into the world of art.

"Part of getting into the world of art is to pay close attention to your surroundings," Booth said.

He said people even get into this world without realizing they are doing it.

"We are all able to slip into this work," he said. "Everyone gets into the world of art."

One example he gave was the way people conduct conversations. A general conversation could just be facts shared between two people, or those engaging in the conversation who pay close attention to what is being said and responding accordingly.

Booth said even that is a work of art.

"We pay attention to what we care about," he said.


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