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Submitted on
July 8, 2011
Submitted with


15,633 (5 today)
60 (who?)

But is it Art?

Fri Jul 8, 2011, 5:52 PM by techgnotic:icontechgnotic:

Perhaps the eternally unanswerable question. But definitely something to chew on... When I first saw it, I was instantly captivated.

At first thought, what a brilliant example of modern pointillism! Has some unknown artist taken up the long abandoned banner of Georges Seurat and presented us with a new manifesto championing art as points of light illuminating our waking dreams?!

Gum Wall in Seattle
by Paul Balcerak

OK, I see now it’s not a painting at all, so my pointillism exuberance is dashed. It’s more likely one of those photo collages with thousands of small images being arranged to create a larger picture. That’s cool. So what’s the picture?

If I stare intently long enough, will it suddenly “emerge,” like the ones they sell on the Venice Beach Boardwalk?

OK... it’s gum.

Chewing Gum Wall
by Ricardo Martins

But, hold on.

It is definitely eye-catching.

And it has definitely held my attention and stirred my consciousness long enough to force the gears in my head to grind out some “answer” as to how I feel about it. And the brief cerebral adventure sparked by this “work” has brought a bit of fun, a flash of joy, into my heart. Why, I actually think it’s a fine example of performance art, even if only a few of the “artists” involved ever gave a moment’s thought as to where, for best aesthetic impact, they would stick their plug of gum. “Unconscious Group Performance Art (UGPA).”(!!!) An artwork years, perhaps decades, in the making!

In any case, it made me think and wonder. It made me feel (happy). So, it’s art to me, even if it’s just saliva-soaked vandalism to someone else. And isn’t that what the wonder of life and art is really all about?

I pose the question back onto you.

Is this art?

Btw, speaking of pointillism, here is a list of 10 deviants that have some wonderful examples of the artform in their galleries.

:iconwolffoxin:  :iconkchan27:  :iconpikajane:  :iconsamuraijose:  :iconmasterofpointillism:  :icondoxie18:  :iconarmandoartist:  :iconscorpioshadow:  :iconxlxbetoxlx:  :iconletocallisto:

Since Posting My Thoughts on “The Wall of Gum”

A remarkable number of deviants have responded with their own observations on this “artwork,” pointing out elements for “consideration as art” that I hadn’t even thought of while recording my initial assessment. These included: the question of intention and/or purpose of the artist(s), the effects of time and weather on the piece, and even the architecture of the gummed-upon structure as fundamental to its essence. I hope that by reading these awesomely perspicacious first responses, posted below, more deviants will be encouraged to weigh in with your own unique insights. The Wall of Gum demands that attention must be paid!

Here is a small sampling of deviants who have already contributed mightily to the conversation in the thread below. Please share your thoughts with them regarding their opinions or provide us with a completely new take on the question, "but is it art?"

:iconmenollysagittaria: :iconfullmetalmono: :iconjackqajacqueline: :icontelephonicchicken: :iconlostatseaforever: :icondorianstretton: :iconsidequestpubs: :iconmattsykun: :iconhyshinara: :iconniallcloud: :iconquargranger: :iconschatten-drache: :icongryphonsshadow: :iconelianthos80: :icondozalt: :iconericforfriends: :iconartisticaviary: :iconsophiadragonmaster: :iconartandattitude: :iconleucisticraccoon: :iconcarlzors: :iconjeysie: :iconscarllettrulez: :iconvoidqueenelishiva: :iconxadrea: :iconshedsimas: :iconkitsune100percent: :iconultradudepatric: :iconthunderstatement: :iconiurypadilha: :iconsandpaperdaisy: :iconcreevesabudd: :iconnokari: :iconforgetdeny:

Add a Comment:
hockeymask Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014
The photographic interpretation is definitely art.The photograph is the medium .The words that describe the gum wall may also be artistically relevant.Prose and poetry about the gum wall may also be "artistically creative ".There may be a thousand ways to interpret the gum wall - it all depends on the paradigm.Is it art in itself ?How long is a piece of string ?
Aerilaya Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014  Student General Artist
I've seen it in person several times, I don't live too far away from Seattle to go up and visit it from time to time (Portland resident here).

To me, that wall is more of a way for someone to prove that they've been there, looked upon the wall, and contributed to this strange and unique mess that people seem to love contributing to. I've placed at least five or six pieces of gum on there myself, mainly because I was a little kid and I thought it would be fun.

And it was fun. I liked contributing to something huge. It's kind of a like a giant, chewed up metaphor.
aiko137 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014
While in Seattle, it is art, so appreciate it :D
Savaliste Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2014
hmm interesting topic.. personally I just see rude and disgusting people Shrug
unless this is a designated area for people to create this with their gum and not just
people littering/vandalizing public property cause they're too lazy to find a trash can.
CodyStuck Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2014  Professional Photographer
I... wouldn't say it is art myself, but that is simply because I have always considered the gum wall to be merely an interesting byproduct of a social phenomena. The definition of art varies from person to person, there are no right or wrong answers. This just happens to not fit my criteria as it was not made with any intention of expression, it just occurred over time due to for the lack of a better term, a local tradition.
LoveoftheDark Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm sure paintings of Goatse are also considered art. Whatever.
CeaSanddorn Featured By Owner May 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
art is just art.
if you say:that is art, than it is art.
for one it is, for one it isn't.

and for that project:
sometimes art is ugly, but sometimes art shows the other problems in the world: maybe rubbish and dirt...
InesBarbosa Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow. Nicely said. I agree. *claps*
graphiteandpaint Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013   General Artist
It is to me, unintentional art. Perhaps it should be clear-coated, to protect it from the elements, and folks who would (ick) be picking at it...?
matthewami Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
At my Jr High we had a gum tree. The thing was nasty, it smelt bad, and the school was finally sued when a few home school kids on distance learning complained and said they got sick from it, so they tore it down. Us kids were so pissed that they did that! Every piece of gum chewed in the quad, by 1,200 kids, every day. The bark was about 3 inches thick, of pure gum, on a tree that was only about 4 inches thick at the time. We LOVED that tree! It was our piece of work! An ugly piece of work, I grant you, but it was ours!

This "gum wall" is there combined piece of work. Call it expressionism, or what ever else you wanna (I'm not a useless philosophy major so I don't know =P) but what I call it is community! Think of the thousands of people it took to build that wall! Hell, Wrigley's stock should raise 10 points, just because of it! While it may not necessarily be art per-say, it is something that belongs to each and every person who has contributed to it, and that is truly beautiful!
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