What is Art?

Many people, including those in non-Western cultures, hold basic assumptions about the nature of art that are different from those held by most art critics and scholars. These assumptions include the following:

• That all works of art are made with special skill and care, not simply by casual whim, chance, or accident.

• That the emotionally meaningful forms of visual art consist of two- or three-dimensional representations of actual or imagined persons, places, objects, or events, and are not abstract.

• That the imagery, while not necessarily realistic in style, is intelligible within its cultural context and embodies ideas and values that have the potential to interest and move others.

• That a true work of art involves more than just technical skill or craft, and requires a personal sensitivity, talent, or vision that brings a subject to life and imbues it with meaning in a compelling way.

• That any work that does not possess all these attributes is either failed art or non-art.

The thoughts in Michelle Marder Kamhi’s book Who Says That’s Art? have served as a source of inspiration for these ideas.

To learn more about the nature of art, you can read my other article Why Abstract Art Should be Called “Anti-Art” Rather than “Fine Art”

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