“First Word Art/ Last Word Art”, by Michael Naimark, highlights an interesting concept that categorizes and separates art into either newfound and original artwork (First Word Art) or mastery and skillful artwork that has been seen before(Last Word Art). This idea that art can be invented and reinvented allows for the world of artists to create and invent new and fresh art, while having other artists develop and expand off those discoveries at the same time.
The development in art that we see in the world today is like a cycle, where old artwork (last word art) cannot exist without new artwork (first word art), and new work similarly cannot exist without old-work. When looking at art movements from hundreds of years in the past, we see how necessary “last word art” is in the development of great classics, where artists needed to learn from each other in their traditional fashions to create masterful and impressive art. Artists had to learn traditional ways of creating artwork, such as sketching and painting to develop and master skills so they can create quality and impressive art. This is where “last word art” becomes important, where artists learn from previous works and improve the medium of art through their own iterations and creative processes.
Since art is forever evolving and changing, “first word art” has its purpose in expanding and redefining what art can be. While newfound artwork and trends may be considered “original”, the idea of originality doesn’t exist, as artists and humans in general create the idea of originality through combining elements and morphing ideas together to create something new. The ability to create art that is considered original depends on collective knowledge and experiences.
I think that in today’s society, we put a higher emphasis on originality and ultimately “first word art”, where creating original and fresh renditions of art is more important than creating impressive artwork that has already been seen or done. However, artwork that have been deemed worthy and so tremendous turn into classics, that will remain as classics for generations. In a sense, most of the greatest art classics that still remain famous and renowned today are “first word art” that achieved such a high level of mastery and appreciation that it will never be able to be recreated or comparable.