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Top hat as an icon for magic

(WARNING: You will not get anything substantial from today’s post if you don’t watch the video at the end of this article. Watch it or you will have wasted an opportunity to become wiser today.)

The question mark notwithstanding, I’m not really sure if I’m asking a question or declaring a statement in writing the title of this post.

I know of magicians who have lofty views of magic. They run around town or hop on one online forum to another to proclaim a great truth which could be untrue—that magic is an art.

I’m never one of those magicians. The reason? It didn’t feel right for me to claim magic is an art.

In a previous article (Magic is an Art…Really?), which I wrote sometime ago, I stated my incredulity over this claim. (Read it if you want to become smarter.)

Then as it is now, I don’t believe magic is an art. This is heresy for most magicians holding a high regard of magic. Many of them are my friends, so sometimes I would call magic a performing art just to appease them and not sully their revered thought of it.

But honestly now, for me magic is NOT an art…not if I’m the one performing it.

I’m an entertainer, not an artist. Well, an entertainer could be an artist, but that’s not me.

I produce a rabbit from a trick box to make children scream with delight. How artistic can that be?

Yes, there are magicians who are artists. They perform artistic magic. Their performances are artful. Their magic, therefore, is art.

Lance Burton‘s FISM act is art. So is David Copperfield’s Flying Illusion, where he flies all over the stage and through hoops, like no other wingless mammal has ever done before.

Richiardi’s performances are artistic too. So are Jeff McBride‘s.

So you see, I admit there are artful magic up there in the stratosphere where magic superstars reside.

But on the ground level, there are exceptions. Too many exceptions they might as well be the rule. Ninety-nine percent of magicians don’t perform, take or approach magic at the standard that art requires.

An amateur magician learns a new trick today and tomorrow he books a restaurant show and performs that trick. How artistic can that be?

A beginning magician drops his thumb tip during a bill switch, flashes his dye tube during a color-changing-hanky routine, or holds his hand like an arthritic while palming a coin during a Miser’s Dream performance. How artistic can that be?

A birthday party magician drops double entendres and tries to raise laughs by using blue material in front of children…How artistic can he be?

Well, for years I didn’t make a categorical statement on this issue, for fear I might offend magician friends who hold loftier views of magic than I do. So I would sometimes squeak that magic is an art, but I felt like an echo, and not someone sounding my own voice.

For years I squeaked the magic-is-an-art line until, thankfully, I found the video below. I didn’t realize there are magicians who share my heretical view of the matter. Now, I can be liberated from all those years of squeaking.

 photo useyourbrain_zpse5ab7f18.jpgOn the video, some name magicians the likes of Johnny Thomson, Eric Mead, John Bannon, Brad Henderson, Richard Kaufman and a few others share their opinions about the subject.

Some of them say, “Yes, magic is an art.” Some say, “No, it isn’t.” And the rest say, “It depends.”

“It depends”, of course, is straddling both sides of the question. It is an indecisive, reluctant committal way of being noncommittal.

In the end, while the polled magicians state individually their stand on the issue, the video as a whole doesn’t answer the question categorically.

Which I think is good. It means the question will pester for more years to come, giving magicians who work their magic for the “gotcha effect” and then pompously call it an art, something to think about.

Watch the video and be edified…or be further confused.

Stay magical,