What is art?
“Art is often considered the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions.” I disagree with this definition in that art isn’t necessarily something that is created to be appealing, and can often not be deliberate. I also think art can appeal to more than the senses and emotions.
An understanding of what art is is as unique as the creation of art is to each individual. Certainly, some definitions may parallel my specific definition of art better than others, but I think the point of art is catered to the person analyzing their own thoughts. I always like to think of Duchamp’s famous Fountain. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this piece, I encourage you to look it up. Some may argue that this piece is not art, but I disagree. Some get a rise out of this, suggesting there’s no way it’s art, without realizing that their emotionally gauged reaction resulting from this piece is part of the reason it exists, and is characteristic of art’s ability to give an emotional response. There are many forms of art that come from already manufactured items, such as Nam June Paik’s Electronic Highway, composed of old televisions stacked and juxtaposed with neon. Art is an outlet to express oneself, whether this be an emotion, a message, a depiction or an undetected, subconscious need to create.
What is Art History?
Art History is an analysis of artistic styles and content from previous eras. Studying art from previous time periods allows us the opportunity to not only gather a historical context of human behavior, but grants the opportunity for the viewer to immerse themselves into a perspective they would not have otherwise known. Through examination and analysis, we can consider different ideas of how the human behavior has shaped into what it is today; whether this be through grotesque images of death and destruction, family dynamics, or what the creator saw as beauty or worthy of depiction.