ARTH101: Discussion Topic 2, Defining Art


Hello PetDavis

Yes, i am familiar with this Dali quote and I believe that wile he was extremely talented, he was a bit full of himself but by default. With the world lauding him and his work how else could he not think of him self. Picasso had the same thing happen to him. As our world shrinks with technology this aspect will only grow.

I have a friend who is an Alexander The Great Scholar and he was shocked with the “uncoverings” recently about the mans personal life. I believe the older archeologists had a very formed view of life at their present and did not think ti delve into the realities of what might have been in the past. Certain sexual aspects where simply taboo to even think of. So I cannot say it was due to not having good masters, but rather masters with a view that might have been driven by their own times.

Yes, every era has good and bad art. I believe in being my own critic and do not necessarily followed someone’s opinion the carries that label. If I like it then it is good, but that does not mean that if I do not like it, it is bad. A reaction is something and needs to be thought of as than opinion. A reaction means that the artist probably succeeded in some way.

When it come stop purchasing art I am not one to do so because of a price tag or name. If I need a piece the cost is irrelevant insofar as to what my pocket can handle. And if I must have, I will find a way. More often than not the pieces that lure me are by unknown artists and because these pieces make me think, they are priceless.


Hello 2_6

I enjoy your play on spelling. Yes, what we as individuals perceive is what makes something art. had a discussion with a friend about this when visiting Chianti at Marfa and had a tussle. At that time my views were limited. Visiting Chianti and the Judd museum opened my eyes to many new aspects of what art is. As art and science become closer, it is all about what we perceive. The cross overs are infinite. Thank you!


Hey Mshall!

All art is about thinking. Whether it be the fine arts, literature, music or dance. Each, for the artist, is about defining or expressing an idea. And yes, it does reflect emotions to the experience the artist is illustrating. I love Plutarch’s quote about poetry being painted words and a paintings words that are silent.


Hi Luxess~

Any piece of art will always be defined by the individual as that person receives it. That covers all aspects/genres. That is why art is so important to the human factor. It gives to us the opportunity to be subjective or objective towards an idea or situation. And more often than not, a circumstance of the world around us. That you are moved by so many different modes seems to translate to how open you are to the world around you. You are lucky to have this state of mind!


Hello kbc~

I feel that you have it correctly. Art is broad and how we define broader still. Definitions depends on environment. How ever that calculates. Yep, art allows us to freedom to speak our minds and if not an artist affords to us the option of what moves us for whatever reason. I believe that artists create to illustrate thought. What is happening now and how that effects the future.

Being subjective is natural, it is finding the objective that is difficult…for me anyway. The first time a viewed Pollack, I was deeply disturbed–completely subjective. But once I could be more objective, I found his works to be entrancing–went back to subjective. Now I love his work. Subjective and yet objective at the same time. Sigh. So a toss between emotional and seeing context then revising and bringing these aspects together again.



Art is expression, you are correct. It is like bringing a night’s dream to the surface from our own depths to show to others outside. So often what we perceive is exactly what someone else is feeling. This being the beauty. Good thoughts and i thank you.


Art is everything we see around us , also art expresses they way we feel about the environment. It also help us communicate very effectively…


Hey 2_6

What do you think of Land Art? I am quite found of it, though some I could live without. Examples would be Smithson, Turell, Heizer…there are many. Your thoughts?


Me either,I used it as an example that I wouldn’t buy a painting which I don’t like even the artist was famous.I always would examine how much work put on it,the aesthetic, and not if it was something that created for the first time in the world.It’s not an expression of art a competition who will run first,the artist must be original himself,herself and the artworks reflecting the personality.

My mind went across Ana Mendieta,a performance,body art,feminist,land art would considered also for using nature and nature settings.A very sad biography I have to say.

It’s impossible to uncover a personal life of someone who lived thousand years before.I must not go further to discuss what is all about behind it,but it has to do purposely for perturbation.
Τhe way they served this great “discovery” infringe’s gays and lesbians.


Well land arts are very figurative and one of the most interesting part of it is the illusions it creates. I love its uniqueness naturalistic nature… Pretty Cool you Know!!!


I have a little problem with my account… guys pls help me out…
I cant access my class for the past 4 days now…


I would have to say that for the most part I do agree with the definition given for art, though where it states that art is an agreement I would disagree. I may not agree with someone when they state that something is art, we each have differing opinions on what art may be. And in that regard this statement, hence my opinion is subjective, it is my opinion and not everyone’s.


What art is, is obvious to all people. Sculpting, painting, music, dancing, writing, and the likes. But what about the dark side of art, like two people fighting in martial arts, willingly or unwillingly, or a serial killer, who maimes his victims in a certain way? If two fighters agree to take the risk, who are we to judge that it is not art, if the fighting is skillful and artistic? Then it’s more like a dance for two. Who are we to decide that art should not hurt? Or if one of them is unwilling to fight, or the case of the serial killer? From a moral standpoint it is not allowed to find such a thing beautiful. But we cannot judge that it is not art, if it is done for the sake of art. Art knows no boundries, unfortunately. Objectively speaking, anything that is called art by anyone is art, I guess.

So what about these thoughts?


You have it spot on, I think. It is difficult to agree on what art is to anyone else. As I work through these lessons, I am being to understand what objectivity is. Though, I find the objective view shallow. Certainly, I am missing something?


These would definitely be the dark side, to use you phrase. However, you are making a point here. I play Judo and love it. For me it is a sport, but earn you think on it and watch the players you begin to realize that there is a discipline being followed and sometimes it is down right beautifully executed. After all it is martial “arts”, no? As for serial killers (I am not one, smile) I do believe that some of these people have it in their brain space that they are creating something. It might be beautiful to them, I simply do not know. So, yes, on the object if one person calls something art, then it must be.


I agree, to be able to understand some art you have to know which culture it was made, period of time(age).

Also I think that art has to make you think something or feel something.


From an artist’s perspective, Art is seen as self-expression through an act of creation. By copying nature and presenting abstract concepts before our senses, he plays both the role of interpreter and messenger of the soul. He’s the scribe of the Gods and the voice of the people.

When he tries to express ideas, visions, dreams and phantasms, he makes manifest what is hidden; he brings objects down from the mental realm and reveal them to the senses through symbolism. On the other end, he can also reverse this process when it copies nature and presents it to our mind, revealing the spectacular in the mundane. In other words, the artist is a link between the manifested world of appearances and the hidden world of ideas; he reveals what lies beyond appearances and conceal ideas into symbols.

Art is thus the creation of the artist, the application of his imagination, the language the “heart”. “Art is not knowledge, but actually requires the absence of knowledge.”(1) Even though it requires skills or crafts, it is not that either. Art is intelligence at work. It is the crystallisation of the artist’s imagination in space and time and it’s real value lies not in objective analysis but in it’s appeal to the emotions of the beholder.

“Art is symbolic of activities other than itself, it is a preparation for these activities. In the life of art the immature mind enjoys a simulacrum of the life of explicit reason, a life which it is not yet able to enjoy except through such a mirror (the imagination). It is not truth or morality or utility, but it prepares the mind for a direct acquaintance with these things; and therefore beauty is the mother of truth and goodness, and art is the corner-stone of all sound education.” (2)

(1), (2): Mind Volume 34, issue 134, Plato’s Philosophy of Art.


Hello @sitwayenjay,

I found your definition and explanation very helpful and thanks.About the vision,dreams,symbolism and the manifest of what is hidden,which is a concept I like and I do respect when they appearing in Artworks,making a sense to me that Surrealism is always relevant in Artworld’s time, from the previous century till now.
There are some artworks dominated from a content which is a synthesis of realistic objects,forms,portraits,drawings etc,but the meaning turns it to a surrealistic artwork.The question I have is does the contemporary surrealistic artwork a copy of a copy,regarding Plato’s theory?And how in Ancient times a great Philosopher had had that perspective about Art,in times before all movements take place in history!Do you think that the “copy of the copy” is misunderstood from us today?Are Plato’s theories obscure?If everyone can see the world from own perspective then why realism considered not be art from many critics.Do we need to make something new just for a renewal and for impression(the artist need’s to sell,for example,and present something new) and what movement will be exist and stated as a movement after contemporary or digital arts?.What name we will give Arts in future, if before 40 years the Art’s had considered to be contemporary!In 2055 lets say.

Regarding Realism in Art I believe that it needs skills,it’s a good practice to sharpen the mind,by measuring and make a bet that you can achieve a similar copy and noone can make it the same,and look like the real portrait of the person .If someone orders the portrait of his wife,then he would like to see a great accomplished work and the painting or sculpture should have a bit of realism,especially if it is asked a well payed order.

Summarizing my post for this discussion,many people consider Art as a prayer or meditation.If someone uses a mala accompanied with a mantra what would be the right Art or movement to achieve the art of mind emptyness (Zen Philosophy).I have the opinion that it needs a lot of work and the mantra should be repeated many hours.I would appreciate to share any thoughts,because Art hides a lot of treasure’s rather than other welcomed and material achievements.

                                                                                       Best Regards,Petdavis


And that’s why it’s unfortunate that art has no boundries. Art can be tempting for people to cross limits that shouldn’t be crossed, and thus causes disaster in those people’s lives. The very art they create becomes their destruction. Like the artistic desire of the serial killer earlier mentioned, or like an artist painting a self-portrait, who starts loathing his own face by looking at the painting. Also there’s the fact that art sometimes attracts unintended kinds of people, which taints the art in itself. Those people then identify with and adhere to it, giving the art a completely different meaning, thereby spoiling the original intention of it, even turning it into an abomination to its originally intended effect or the spiritual change it’s supposed to give, which is then detrimental to all involved. Like for example an ancient orthodox icon depicting the virgin Mary, falsely recognized by hindus to portray one of their deities. And then they start worshipping this deity through that image. A great disgrace to those hindus, and the creator of the icon is turning in his grave. Or a piece of art designed to promote capitalism, which then through the public view becomes a famous sign against that same capitalism. The paradox in the situation is shaming to both the creator and the users of the sign. So art can bear a high penalty in itself, for the artist and the observer, and a true artist can love a piece of art so much, that he doesn’t want to share it with anyone, since it is his child, and he doesn’t want it to get abused. So art is also a very dangerous concept, with great destructive power.


Hello MildredTorres
It certainly helps to understand the sociological structures, environments and politics of any given era. It builds a path for us to see something relevant in the contexts.

Yes, this is what makes us as viewers think, that leads to an emotion.