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Davis, Joe

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Digital access to this material is pending artist's approval. Materials may be viewed onsite at the Goldsen Archive, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library, Cornell University.

The first definition of "art" in the American Heritage Dictionary, 1st edition, is "Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature." Merriam-Webster's 7th New Collegiate says, "human ingenuity in adapting natural things to man's use". Confronted with these definitions, many artists automatically find themselves in denial. But artists have only to define themselves. Art is ultimately defined around them. There have always been arguments about whether or not what I do is really art. I hold no classical credentials in the sciences, yet many of my scientific colleagues have decided that I must be one of them. Artists too will often confer that indictment simply because I can negotiate both languages, or because one or another of my artworks has been seen to represent some sort of scientific interest, or because I have decided to repossess some or another tool or technique that has been perverted elsewhere to the detriment of human good. Yet, I am in fact an artist in the purest sense. I am even an artist by dictionary definition.

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