The “Fine Art” of Amusement

I have often wondered, or challenged would be more accurate, the generally accepted definition of fine art.  It can be quite a testy little conversation based on who you have it with.  Below is the official dictionary definition followed by some comments on Wikipedia.



Art produced or intended primarily for beauty rather than utility.


Fine art or the fine arts describes an art form developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Historically, the five greater fine arts were painting, sculpture, architecture, music and poetry, with minor arts including drama and dancing. Today, the fine arts commonly include the visual art and performing art forms, such as painting, sculpture, collage/assemblage, installation, calligraphy, music, dance, theatre, architecture, photography, conceptual art, and printmaking. The word “fine” does not so much denote the quality of the artwork in question, but the purity of the discipline. That fine art is seen as being distinct from applied arts is largely the result of an issue raised in Britain by the conflict between the followers of the Arts and Crafts Movement, including William Morris, and the early modernists, including Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group. The former sought to bring socialist principles to bear on the arts by including the more commonplace crafts of the masses within the realm of the arts, while the modernists sought to keep artistic endeavor as exclusive and esoteric.  Applied arts refers to the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function and everyday use. Whereas fine arts serve as intellectual stimulation to the viewer or academic sensibilities, the applied arts incorporate design and creative ideals to objects of utility, such as a cup, magazine or decorative park bench.

Bored yet? Yea, me too.

The reason I have decided to blog about this is that I fundamentally believe that the amusement business represents the epitome of both science and art.  And furthermore, I don’t buy that crap about fine art being for beauty and not utility.

Take for example a recent project that two of our fine “artists” have just completed.  The photos represent the process from start to finish.  You will note that several of the so called fine arts were engaged in producing the piece of art including sculpture and painting.  But, according to the written definition of art, this could not be considered fine art because it was also designed for kids to sit on.  That is outrageous!!!

Much of what we do at Morey’s Piers is either to create art or to create spaces for families to play in that are surrounded by art.  Here, you’ll find some examples that portray some of the art of Morey’s Piers which will soon be added to our web site under the heading of “Artsy Fartsy.”

An architect colleague of mine by the name of Gus Langford once told me that everything that is man made is art.  Think about this for a moment……yes, I know it’s a little scary that I in fact have. A pen, paper clip, phone, computer, light, fork, spoon, cup, box, stick of gum, beverage can, chair, window shade, eye glasses, and even underwear.  They all start with an aesthetic decision designed to catch the eye.  Now I certainly do not want to put down the Mona Lisa and do in fact think that some art may be better than others, but to suggest that some art is “fine” and some is “not fine…or applied” is, to me, a bid ludicrous.  I prefer to think of it as different strokes for different folks.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that pet peeve off my chest allow me to switch to a complimentary subject.  However, rather than hear me blab, click here to listen to a favored speaker of mine from TED.com. TED stands for technology, entertainment and design and is a fascinating place for the passionate and curious minded.


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