Author: Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Plot Summary: Square is doing his work bringing blocks from his cave to a pile at the top of the hill. Circle thinks that Square is making a sculpture and requests that Square sculpt a block to look like her. Square works all night trying to make a block perfect, just like Circle. Square carves the entire block away and falls asleep in a ring of rubble in the rain. The next morning when Circle comes to see his work, she sees her reflection in the puddle of rain that the ring of rubble has collected overnight and exclaims that it is perfect and Square is a genius! The story ends with Square still doubting his genius artistic ability despite Circle’s claims.
Posted In: Aesthetics

Discussion Questions

“But was he really?”

  • Was Square really a genius?
  • Was Square really an artist?

Does art have to be intentional?

  • Can art be created without intention?

To what extent is the social appreciation of art based on the circumstances of its reception?

  • If a lost item is left in a gallery and assumed by others to be art, is it art?

What are the requirements for someone to be considered an artist?

  • Creates recognized art once? Creates unrecognized art for years?
  • What amount of dedication is required for someone to be considered an artist?
  • What level of artistry is required to be an artist? Can children be artists?

Who decides/recognizes what art is?

  • The artist? The observer?

Does art imitate life?

Is nature art?

Can art be perfect?

  • Is there anything that exists that is objectively art?
  • Is all art subjective?
  • Who decides what is perfect or a mistake?
  • Can anyone or anything be perfect?

Is our interpretation of art always based on what we already know/have experienced/heard?

What is the difference between an artist and a craftsman?

Contributed by Emilie Klier