This is how most people define art. You hear this all the time. “If I can do it, it's not art. Wow, I could never do that! That’s art!” People who say this get confused when they see modern art in a museum. They say, “My five-year-old could do that! That’s not art!”
to being "not art":
Second, is skill all that matters in art? Is it really just a contest?
You also hear this often. “Oh wow, that’s beautiful!” It’s impressive when an artist achieves great beauty in his art. It usually involves more than simply copying what you see.
I think we can all agree that this painting is not beautiful. It's not very flattering. But it is fascinating. This isn't how we typically see people, so what does it mean that her nose and eyes connect to make such a strange T shape? Is that a hat on her head, and what significance do the yellow and green colours have? This is a work filled with mystery - commentary that speaks to us, and teases us. Here's another:
Don't you want to know the story behind this work? So far as I know, no one really knows who this woman was, or what she really looked like. I would say it's art for the same reason. It fills me with wonder, however comical.
As in, a form of communication. Artists speak to the viewer through their work.
5. Art is Original
People value original ideas. This is why so many modern artworks are popular in museums today. They were the first to have their ideas.
The problem with this definition: First of all, just because an idea is new, doesn't mean it's a good one.
There's a difference between originality and gimmickry:
Then, there are other complications. Some artists, like Rembrandt and Goya are famous for printmaking - each picture is an original artwork, even though there are many copies.
Then, there's classical music, where musicians play someone else's work, but add their own interpretation. There are countless examples in visual art where artists do the same thing - original interpretations of earlier styles, and subjects. But, we typically call it art unless an exact copy is made (plagiarism), or if the artist lies and claims it was made by another, more famous artist (forgery).
“The only reason for an artwork to exist is that it be excellent.” - Stapleton Kearns
If you have a vase, and you use it to hold flowers, it’s not art. If you put it on a pedestal and only look at it, then it is art. A blanket on your bed is a craft. Hang it up on a wall, and it’s art.
You hear this a lot with post modern and contemporary art. It’s a way of encouraging experimentation. With this definition, if you want to put a water bottle on a pedestal, that’s your art. If you want to film someone shooting you in the arm with a pistol, that’s your art.
If you want to lay down a big orange rug, and let people walk on it, that’s your art.
Some artists see this as empowering, giving them total freedom. In theory this also leads to variety in art, so everyone can find something they like.
This is the response that illustrators Kev Ferrera and Chris Bennett hope will make art important again. The idea here is that every mark is two things at once – strokes of colour on a surface, and the illusion of a picture, whether representational or abstract. And, every mark and stroke is the product of a conscious decision by the artist. This definition tries to tie together everything that’s right about the previous ones: Everything that makes a work of art impressive, expressive, one-of-a-kind, and revealing about the artist.
Secondly, what about collage – the art of cutting up photos and pasting them together? Artists used to do this by hand, but now it’s mostly done digitally. Often times you can’t tell a photo is a collage.
So when is it art? The answer I got is, the more present the hand of the artist, the more Art it is. In other words, there are levels of Art. It’s the same problem Chris Bennett referred to about “half art, half not art, etc.” Imagine the same problem applied to drawing. How many marks does it take before you can call a drawing a work of art? Does adding more marks make it more Art?