Art and Entertainment

My college students frequently ask me
to discuss the difference between 
entertainment and fine art.

Although art is often entertaining,
and entertainment can be artful,
the difference between art and entertainment
is complexity, depth.

Entertainment, by definition, is accessible, entertaining.
The goal of entertainment is not necessarily to challenge, 
but to entertain.

In contrast, fine art challenges our assumptions. It combines
unity of form and structure with intellectual complexity
and depth of emotion. 

I tend to think of art and entertainment as a continuum.
On one end of the spectrum is entertainment, in its simplest,
most accessible form, unquestioning, unambiguous, nostalgic.

While at the other end of the continuum is art 
at it’s most powerful, challenging, thoughtful, sublime.

All other forms of art and entertainment can be located
somewhere within the boundaries of these two extremes.

I always ask my students to identify what they envision
midpoint between the two boundaries.