Even the most influential and recognized minds of the last century cannot agree on what is and what is not a piece of art. Hegel, for example, describes art as based on three main characteristics. He states that: There are 3 factors determining a work of art: 1. A work of art is not produced by Nature; it is brought into being by the agency of man. 2. It is created essentially for man, and it is addressed to his senses 3. It contains an end bound up with it. Jacques Maritain, in contrast, gives three completely different conventions that make one work a work of art.
According to him, There are three rules on art. First – the very idea of rules in the arts changes and becomes transfigured through the impact of beauty on the activity of art. So the rules must be continually reborn, and the artist is forever exploring the unknown. Second – the work to be made is unique, and an end in itself. Each time, and for every single work, there is for the artist a new and unique way to strive after the making of his art. Third – because the work is an end in itself, and a unique participation in beauty, reason alone is not enough for the artist.
Because in art as in contemplation, intellectuality at its peak goes beyond concepts and reason, and is achieved through union with the subject, which love alone can bring about. Once again, Leo Tolstoy disagrees with the other definitions of art and gives his own. He claims that: Real art must be infectious-the receiver of a true artistic impression is so united to the artist that he feels as though the work were his own-as if what it expresses was what he had been longing to express. A real work of art destroys the separation between himself and the artist, and even between himself and all those others who also appreciate this art.
In this freeing of our personality from its isolation, and uniting it with others, lies the great attractive force of art. Not only is infection a sure sign of art, but the degree of infectiousness is the sole measure of excellence in art. This depends on 3 things; 1. The individuality of the feeling transmitted. 2. Its clarity. 3. The sincerity of the artist – i. e. the degree of force with which the artist feels the emotion he transmits. Art is not just what you can see in museums, art galleries, or what someone qualified as a masterpiece.
There are countless forms and types of art. There are numerous genres. And every person has his own taste for art. There is no such thing as school subject called Art Appreciation that you can be thought. Art is what you, as an individual, can recognize as such. Creating art and experiencing art are both very personal. Every artist, when involved in a process of creating a new work, is trying to embody some specific meaning in his creation. In the same way, everyone whos in touch with a work of art should be able to extract some meaning from this contact.
The purpose of the artist is to create a feeling or a mood, usually an emotion that the artist feels and hopefully the viewer will feel. But it is not necessary to be the same meaning that the author was trying to introduce. It is not possible to be the same meaning. For we are human beings. And everything we interact with, we see in the light of our own consciousness, of our own individual understanding. This makes it impossible for two people to view a work of art in exactly the same way, even when they are an author and an admirer.
This is what makes art so personal and leads us to the ridiculous situation that what some call art for others just seem to be nothing more than a five-year-old kids daubing. So why is art so often disturbing? It is because the most disturbing art is usually the most ideologically meaningful. This kind of art is slapping us in the face with its outrageousness, with its provocation, and is bringing light to the darkest spots of our mind, revealing the skeletons in the closet. And we are afraid of what it shows us, we are afraid of what it means to us.
Examples of this kind of art are Robert Mapplethorpes self-portrait with a bullwhip in his anus, John OReillys sex-with-Jesus photocollages, Sally Manns sensual portraits of her children, Amy Adlers nothing-to-hide centerfold self-portraits, and Kara Walkers sexually driven master-slave silhouettes. This art is disturbing and sometimes painful, full of what the artists had bottled up inside. If the art is disturbing and if it troubles you, then it has struck a nerve, because the world is a disturbing, troublesome place.
Obscenity, pornography and violence do exist in our world and it is important that artists are able to recognize this fact and blow the horn in front of our faces. This kind of art immerses us deeply inside our problems, inside the problems of the world and makes us think about feelings, questions we are not used to. And we find it so disturbing because it is a lot easier just to avoid or condemn that which doesn’t sooth us. In order to consider something a work of art, it has to be able to touch us emotionally or mentally. Art is representation of each ones unique identity.
When something is created, it is not art. It only becomes art when it is appreciated by someone other than the artist. It is the expression of thoughts and feelings. Art involves inspiring emotions or provoking thought. One definition of art says: Art is a symbolic representation of someone’s ideas, emotions, or thoughts in general, intended to convey this, or evoke a similar state in another. Because we are all different we see different things and feel different things. But the key word is feel, the emotion, the ability to represent, that is the art.