Is art a "physical object"?On the ontology question in art: the aesthetic qualities and properties that make a work as an "artwork".

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Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Art is not necessarily a physical object. Some works are physical, such as drawings, paintings and sculptures. Other works have a temporal component but can exist outside a a specific location (plays, dances, miming acts and any other coreographed sequence of movements). Still other types of art are essentially information-based (such as a musical score). Physicality isn't a necessary ontological status for a work to be considered "artwork." However, the distinction between physical art and conceptual arts is not always clear. For example, when examining ancient texts scribed on the original papyrus, it may be unclear whether the art consists of the physical writing on the papyrus itself, the information contained within the writing, or a combination of both. Most people agree that somehow the original manuscript is "more" of a work of art than later reproductions, but it's fair to ask if that preference is valid. In addition, some of the most elegant expressions of human intelligence and meaning have a utilitarian rather than strictly aesthetic value. These utilitarian sets of elegent information are hard to identify: are mathematical proofs works of art? What about equations that describe the workings of the universe? Some people claim to find artistic expression in computer programs. The question of what qualities and properties define art is difficult to answer definitively.
kinyuagreg | Student

On physicality of art, I dont think the fact that a work of imagination creation qualifies as physical due to the fact that when creating the work it is done first in one's mind then executed to reality by physical object(s). Take for instance the creation of songs, most of the process is mental and though it could involve physical acts, that may not necessarily qualify the work to be a physical object.

The aesthetic qualities that qualify a work of art to be an artwork purely remain to the credit of the audience/client. A work of art and its qualities that rate it highly vary from one event,occassion or client to another as well as the guidelines laid for the creation of that work.  This argument can be based on the famous saying that 'beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.'