What qualities should something have in order to be considered art?
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We should start by restating Donald Hall’s truism: “The definition of a word is another word.” Pyschologists see many “jobs” in the human psyche – logic, cause-and-effect, storage of sense information, etc. etc. -- and Art can seen as one of the functions of consciousness – the function of creating, and, after the act of creating, the act of appreciating. The “artist”, then, creates something that did not exist before – a painting, a symphony, a poem, a dance, etc. That is the initiating act of Art. The appreciation act of Art is looking (hearing, feeling, etc.) at something carefully – the recipient re-creates the art “object” by experiencing it carefully, with concentration. Any confusion between Art and Non-Art comes when the other functions of the brain – “thinking”, logic, “sense-making”, etc. -- interfere with the “appreciation” of the Art object – for example, when Art is mistaken for Commodity—or when “essential existence” is confused with “function. If you use a statue as a doorstop, you are confusing Art with Function. When you divide films into “financial ventures” and “”auteur” statements, you are making note of the difference between Art and Commodity. When we listen to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony we are appreciating his Art; when we break it down into its notes, harmonies, keys, etc. in order to discuss its similarities and differences, we are analyzing it with a different part of our brain.
First of all, one must ask, "Is the definition of art for me, the same as everyone else?". The answer to that seems more likely to be a no. The reason why is because not every believes in the same things as other people. What one person once believed was not art, hundreds of years ago, is now considered a popular art form in this day and age. For example, art was supposed to be something created on paper or canvas with pencil, charcoal, and paint. However, fast forward a couple of years, Andy Warhol, destroyed the traditionalist views of artists by introducing, Pop Art. The flashy colors and futuristic vibe didn't sit well with them; however, as time went on, people slowly started to come to like this form of art. So really, the qualities depend entirely upon the tastes of the viewer/artist.
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