What is Art!

by Thom Van Vleck

Barbell Mobile at the York Barbell HQ in York, PA

I have always been a “form follows function” kind of guy.  I like looking at things that are built well, built to last, built to do a job and it’s function is what makes it pleasing to look at.  Like the Golden Gate Bridge is a work of art to me.  Al’s Back Lift apparatus is a work of art to me.  I have problems figuring out the purpose of piles of metal of globs of paint piled upon each other in some seemingly random fashion and then labels as some great statement about the destruction of the environment (no, I would say you using valuable resources to make something that serves no earthly purpose as the destruction of then environment!).  But hey, as my dear ol’ Dad used to say, “Whatever trips your trigger”.

I do have to admit, I like things that utilize what I love to do….lifting weights.  Recently, I was visiting the York Barbell Headquarters in York, PA and hanging from the ceiling was a huge mobile made of weights….not sure if the weights were real….and that looked cool and interesting.  It also rotated slowly.  However, I couldn’t help but thinking to myself how nice it would be to have those barbell plates in my gym!

Now this would be the ultimate challenge for Al Myers to build and an even greater challenge for anyone to lift if it were made of iron!

Another piece of “art” I recently saw (not in person) was an 8 ft tall Dumbbell that was being used as an advertisement of some sort.  There’s a youtube video of it being made ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdDVvwayraE), it looks like they make it out of styrofoam!  I have to admit, if I were walking down the street, I’d pause and check this out (and probably want my wife to take my picture trying to lift it….and yes, I would try and lift it!

They say art is in the eye of beholder and I also heard someone once say, “I don’t know what art is, but I know what I like”.  Sure, I’ve been to college and took “Art Appreciation” and I can BS with the best of them on the finer points of art and answer a few trivia questions about Leonardo da Vinci or Jackson Pollock (no relation to the JWC!)  But when it comes right down to it, I like the kind of art that I can use, like a 1957 Chevy, a well designed house with many architectural features, or a 500lb capacity lat pull down like Al Myers has in his gym!  So, make it pretty, but make it do something other than a paper weight or something to cover a hole in the wall.

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