What is art?
There is no universally accepted definition of art. Although commonly used to describe something of beauty, or a skill which produces an aesthetic result, there is no clear line in principle between (say) a unique piece of handmade sculpture, and a mass-produced but visually attractive item. We might say that art requires thought – some kind of creative impulse – but this raises more questions: for example, how much thought is required? If someone flings paint at a canvas, hoping by this action to create a work of art, does the result automatically constitute art?
Explore some definitions by artists
To Plato, art was imitation of nature, but in the 19th century, photography took over that function, and in the 20th, abstract art overturned the whole notion that art was about representation. And although art meant skill early on, conceptual artists elevated ideas over execution. So what is art? Does it have to be beautiful? Expressive? Original? Uplifting? Intellectual? Here’s how 27 artists, critics, and others answered the question, “What is art?”
You are going to read some definitions of art by famous artists and philosophers. Try to classify them into the following categories: