What is Art?

Here’s an art piece by Damian Hirst followed by a discussion on “What is art?” from Cristian Mihai.

My thought (at the moment at least) of what art is is that it’s a creation to creatively express. This creation, when shown to others, causes the receiver to have an emotional response.

I believe the type of expression in art has changed through history, which understandably would change our response to it. Up until the early 1900’s I think the major purpose was to convey beauty, to celebrate life, to show goodness, bring joy, and give thanks–positive emotional responses come from this art created with love. I believe that now much of the popular art created is either meant to convey horror, disgust, bewilderment, or hate–probably by artists who feel these ways toward life. On a different note, I agree with what a commenter on Cristian’s post pointed out: much “art” now, more than earlier, may be created simply for the purpose of selling what the wealthy will buy. I wouldn’t call this production true art, since it lacks the purpose of creatively expressing.

From a Christian worldview I think there’s a right art and a wrong art. Right art worships God by expressing righteousness, whereas wrong art worships Satan by expressing wickedness. But then, what about the art which neither seems to express righteousness or wickedness, like an abstract paining on canvas?

“O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.” (Psalm 96:9) — Emphasis added

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.” (Luke 11:34-36 ESV)

What are your thoughts? Have you thought of or heard what you consider to be a great definition of art? Do you think it’s something which can be rightly defined?

Cristian Mihai

You’ve got to hand it to Hirst. He does come up with some really catchy titles for his… thingies. Britain’s richest living artist…

Whether we like it or not, we live in a post-modern world. But the question is, “What’s art?”

What is the definition of art? And who can define it? Does art have something to do with the means we use to express our beliefs? Is art about how or why? Or what?

Is it enough for the artist to call a dead shark “art” for it to be art?


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