As we progress further and further into the 21st century, art work is becoming increasingly more diverse and many people discuss and argue over whether art has to hold meaning or depict a subject. So, really, what is art? And can each of us, as individuals, judge whether or not something deserves to be praised of flamed due to its style?
To start with, lets look at the dictionary definition of the word “art”: “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than than ordinary significance.”. So, we can see from this that art doesn't really have a set style that is correct; it is more a fluid movement that changes from individual to individual. This fluidity is what makes art a subject that is a cause for so much angst and argument, as well as so much appreciation. The looseness of the definition means that “art” is a word that encompasses a large range of styles that different people enjoy in different ways. The broadness of the spectrum the word “art” includes can be likened to the spectrum of the word “sport” in that it covers a large amount of subjects that many people disagree over, and yet still belong by definition under the same heading.
There are, however, pieces of artwork that sorely stretch the boundaries, and I believe it is these pieces in particular that cause the most controversy. Many people who prefer the more traditional forms of art state that Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living is not art at all, and is in fact quite disturbing, whilst those that prefer a more modern take see Claude Monet's Water Lilies as little more than an overly long collection of blurs. Personally, I dislike both works, making me the cause of much disgust in conversations! As the ancient Greek idiom goes: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, and this is especially true in the case of art. It is important to remember that beauty is different for everyone, and therefore a lot of things can be called art. Fans of Damien Hirst's work might admire the power and grace of the shark, captured to be viewed, whilst those who like Claude Monet might admire the how the colours infer the reflection of lilies on a pond.
Basically, my point is that as long as one person finds something beautiful in a piece of work, it is art, regardless of how meaningful it is. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a what you believe is a worthwhile piece of art is to be decided by you alone. There are many beautiful things in this world, and we should take time to appreciate them and just ignore those things we don't enjoy!