In May I saw an incredible show about Nancy Spero at PS1 and the thing that stood out to me was the sign she had in her studio:


art without knowledge is nothing

Art without knowledge is nothing. It’s a bold statement that is attributed to the long dead architect Jean Mignot. To me it’s about the fact that we need knowledge to truly appreciate art. We need the context of who the artist was, of what the world was. Until we can know more about art, we can only look at it as an aesthetic item. Beauty can be appreciated but it’s only skin deep. It’s knowledge or brains that add the depth. And without depth, there is nothing there. Hence, Ars Sine Scientia Nihil Est.

I have been thinking about how it could be simplified and my instagram has been littered with stories featuring a similar phrase

Ars est Verum

Art is truth

Truth is a foundation for understanding, it’s needed for knowledge. Otherwise that “knowledge” is just a random set of sentences or ideas. Knowledge without truth is nothing.

Is Art Truth? I don’t know. It’s just a theory, but there is something nice about it. What I do know is art inspires emotions and emotion is true. I know art exists, so it is truthy. But does Art === Truth? That’s a question I can’t answer and I’m not sure I ever will be able to answer it. But while I try, I’ll at least have a belief that Ars est Verum