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Definition Of Art

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Definition of Art

Introduction to Art & Visual Culture

Instructor: Mark Ensslin

Ralph Antinori

Art: You know what it is, I know it, but a definition is quite something else.

Although one probably cannot give a real definition of art, Arthur Danto, professor of philosophy at Columbia University ..., believes that today "you can't say something's art or not art anymore. That's all finished." In his book, Danto argues that after Andy Warhol exhibited simulacra of shipping cartons for Brillo boxes in 1964, anything could be art.

There are three cognitive processes critical to making art, they are:

1. Interpreting "natural symbols" such as hoof prints ("natural history intelligence");

2. Intentional communication ("i.e., social intelligence"); and

3. The ability to produce artifacts from mental templates, e.g. a stone hand axe ("technical intelligence").

Anything might be art. Art is what is made by an artist. Then, what is an artist?

This is what John Fowles has to say about the artist:

"To be an artist is not to be a member of a secret society; it is not an activity inscrutably forbidden to the majority of mankind. Even the clumsiest, ugliest and most ignorant lovers make love; and what is important is the oneness of man in making artifacts, not the abyss said to exist between a Leonardo and the average of mankind…."



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