Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash
What constitutes art? I mean this in the basic visual sense (paint on canvas, sculpture, etc.)…
I would argue that art cannot be defined in a basic "visual" sense because I believe much of any art incorporates some expression of the artist's philosophical world view.
Although it pains me to do so, I am very much in agreement with Brad ( to the "pain" part) to a degree.
I think a very basic understanding of any art form can give the practitioner some small ability to recognize evidence of strong (or weak) technique. "Those in the know", as I understand them to be, are those who have a greater degree of understanding or experience in the art form and would be better able to identify subtleties in the execution of artistic techique that, by their definitions, may either represent genius or ineptitude. But, in many ways, these "definitions" are arbitrary or, at the very least, distorted by the philosophical make-up of the "Those-in-the-know" crowd.
An example (of a martial art observation ... please excuse my very limited knowledge of the visual arts):
While watching "Bloodsport" with Jean Claude Van Damme, I noted that there was NO way Jean's sloppy jump-spin kick technique could generate the power necessary to knock an experienced fighter unconscious (short of some great fluke). First, he telegraphs the move with his wind up and then he wastes the additional force capable of being generated by his body weight by allowing his hamstring (rather than his hip) drive the kick. By all practical counts, Van Damme's kick was more-or-less a waste of the time and energy necessary to deliver a jumping kick.
BUT as Brad rightly pointed out, good art is determined by the interpretive community. Visually, Van Damme's kick is much more visually appealing than a jump-wheel kick calculated to deliver a damaging blow. Van Damme's kick was more dramatic and afforded him the time to sell the drama (in reality, his Hollywood version of the kick is extremely slow -- the foot should strike before the eyes actually become refocused on the target).
In short, Van Damme's kick, while practically useless, has a visual value that translates into Hollywood $$. He has a heck of a lot more $$ than I do ... so who am I to say that my way is better than his? I think this carries over into other forms of art (written art ... prose or poetry, visual arts, and other active arts ... dance, for example).
Good question, Elizabeth. Definitely one for 101.