So if I intend to talk about Art (in all forms) here
I suppose I ought to set out my stall, first. Let’s start with a quote:
“Art, in the human truth of it, touches the universal. Seeing Art, we recognise a thought we had but could not utter, are made less alone.” — Alan Moore from “Snakes and Ladders”.
I use that quote a lot. But it’s one of the best working definitions of Art I’ve ever come across, or at the least, it’s one I find myself in strong agreement with. It provides a way of telling Art from non-Art – the acid test it points to it simple: was the creator of a given work trying to express a thought about the way they see the world, as opposed to “just” creating something pretty/entertaining?
This definition, or course is one that leads to things being Art simply because their creator says they are, but then, Art is not automatically good or worthy. There is no shame in simply creating something pretty or entertaining – I’d far rather look at a really pretty picture that was not Art than a really banal one that was expressing the really boring views of a very tedious man. I don’t wish to suggest that it’s in any way a lesser thing to create beauty rather than Art, simply a different thing. But if we must have a means to define Art, then that’s the one I choose to use.
I’d further suggest that in order for Art to be considered “good” it should also invite the person experiencing the work (I could just say “viewer” but I want to emphasise that I’m not just talking about the purely visual arts here) to think. It should pose questions, or make suggestions. It should be the artist engaging in a discourse, saying “Here’s what I think. Do you have any ideas on the subject?”.