What is Art? Defined
If one defines what is art, it can be said that it is any form of artistic creation involving the manipulation of the senses to create visual presentations of an intangible, transcendent object. The history of what is art goes back as long as people have been creating visual art-from cave paintings to the works of contemporary artists today. Art has been discussed since the beginning of time, and each civilization throughout the ages has taken a particular interest in the visual arts as a means to communicate and display culture and information to the rest of their population.
An interesting dichotomy exists between what is art and what is not art, or, in the case of non-visual cultures, what is art and what is not culture. Defining what is art depends on the culture from which it derives. In North America and Europe, for example, we generally refer to works of art as art. However, these same cultures usually do not give any credit to other forms of expression, including dance, literature, music, sculpture, and film. Because of this double standard, the question “what is art?”
In the United States, some refer to visual culture as the “folk art,” while others insist that visual culture does not exist. The reason for this disparity is quite simple: visual culture refers to the aesthetic traditions and values of a particular country, as well as its specific visual arts, while the definition of what is art has no national or cultural boundaries. In other words, it could be argued that what is art depends entirely on the observer. Each individual decides what is art according to his or her personal preferences and values.
Many critics argue against the idea that what is art has a definite definition. According to these critics, art is anything that is created with the purpose of expressing some kind of aesthetic sense. These critics argue that, regardless of what is visual, art has a social purpose in the society and culture of the people who view the works of art. Thus, the definition of what is art is determined by the culture of the people who create and view such works. Some critics argue that the definition of art should also depend on the audience.
Other critics define what is art as the work that an artist creates with the help of his/her personal tools and the knowledge of the tools required for their production. They further argue that an object cannot be art if it does not possess a human characteristic or if the person who views it does not perceive it as an artwork. On the other hand, some visual works are criticized for having the effect of imposing a certain “post-modern” or post-modern cultural perspective upon the viewer. For instance, artworks made in the late twentieth century have been accused of being pornographic, due to the presence of pornography in some forms of abstract art.
What is art? It is a subjective question. There are different definitions for what is art. But one thing is sure – each artist definition of what is art is different from the other.