The Rapidian Home

Impart: Abstract painter Thomas Hammer argues art is defined by art world authorities

NYC artist Thomas Hammer explores chaos and control in his artwork and in his answers to our questions.
"Zenos Paradox" by Thomas Hammer

"Zenos Paradox" by Thomas Hammer /Courtesy of Thomas Hammer

Underwriting support from:


This article is part of a series called “Impart” which asks local and national artists questions about art to preface ArtPrize and begin the conversation.

Read other artists' answers: 

Gil Lelazhe Jariq

Salvador Jimenez 

Melanie Manos

Christina Mrozik 

Nate Otto

Consuelo Poland 

Mark Reigelman

"Burst" by Thomas Hammer

"Burst" by Thomas Hammer /Courtesy of Thomas Hammer

Previous work by Thomas Hammer

Previous work by Thomas Hammer /Courtesy of Thomas Hammer

Impart seeks to preface ArtPrize by asking artists essential questions about art. 

Thomas Hammer is an abstract painter who contrasts wild flourishes with geometric shapes. He works in painting, drawing and photography and often mixes the three. 

His entry for ArtPrize will explore the same themes and will be located at the Boardwalk GR Condominiums located on 940 Monroe. The works will be available for viewing from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. 

What is art? What is the purpose of art?

"Defining art is tricky business. No sooner do you come up with a definition of art than you find examples that sits outside that definition. Defining art also involves defining what doesn't make the cut, which (perhaps unfairly) restricts who is and is not allowed into the clubhouse. Since art is a concept created by humans, I think it's fair that we get to disagree on what it is. Perhaps we could create a website and let people vote on whether something is art or not? A Monet painting of haystacks? A can of soup? an iPhone? Let the people vote and debate! Ok, probably a terrible idea that would take us backward rather than forward. My cynical response to all this is that art is whatever an artist comes up with and enough authorities support. Now please don't ask me who gets to be an artist or an authority, or how many authorities are enough."

Is art important? Why is art important?

"Art allows us to represent, respond to and re-imagine our surroundings. It provides opportunity for us to explore the world around us as well as our own consciousness."

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.