“… In order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. Viewing it in this way we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man.”
– Leo Tolstoy
Art and Sincerity. Excerpted from What Is Art? (1896)
I’ve always heard people say that art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. So does that mean anything and everything can be art? Susan Sontag wrote in her essay, An Argument About Beauty that:
“Beauty, it seems, is immutable, at least when incarnated—fixed—in the form of art, because it is in art that beauty has an idea, an eternal idea, is best embodied”.
So what makes art, art? The word art ranges into a various number of things—i.e. paintings, music, literature, sculptures, dance, fashion, food, some (like me) even believe wine to be an art. It is an expression of creativity and imagination. As human beings we like to categorize things so they can make a bit of sense to us. However art does not need to make sense. Additionally you do not have to love an artwork for it to be art. Society has drummed predefined concepts of what art is in our heads and because of that the theory of what art may be has been boxed into a strict definition.
I believe art to be what the artist and/or as it happens the beholder decides it to be. For example, a chair displayed in a gallery can be seen as art because one, it may be aesthetically pleasing and two; relative pieces and ready mades (such as a chair) could be seen as art reason being that the artist’s view of that particular object comes from an artistic perspective. What do you think? Is the bed you sleep on a form of art? What about the cup you drink your coffee in? Or the second hand car you drive? Would love to hear from you, Let me know what you think art is by leaving a comment below.
Martha Beck said, “Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld”
Audio: “What is Art?”