aart - For numerous reasons, a difficult word to define without starting endless argument! Many definitions have been proposed. At least art involves a degree of human involvement — through manual skills or thought — as with the word "artificial," meaning made by humans instead of by nature. Definitions vary in how they divide all that is artificial into what is and isn't art. The most common means is to rely upon the estimations of art experts and institutions.

Artists, museum curators, art patrons, art educators, art critics, art historians, and others involved with art change their ideas about it over time. Early in the twentieth century, for instance, artists expanded the definition of art to include such things as abstraction, collage, and readymades. Even in the second half of the twentieth century, the artworldexpanded its definition of art to include textiles, costumes, jewelry, photography, video, concepts, and performances as art. Only in the last ten or twenty years works of various native peoples have come to be considered art rather than artifacts.

However, people of some cultures do not (or refuse to) refer to some works as "art." Because of this, many people have taken to using the broader terms material culture or visual culture when referring to such works. No American Indian language includes such a word as art. The Japanese created such a word only after coming into contact with European ideas.


visual image of the word "art"





see thumbnail to leftThis diagram was produced with Plumb Design and Thinkmap.com's Visual Thesaurus -- an animated display of words and meanings -- a visual representation of the English language. Looking up a word -- in this case "art" -- creates a visualization with that word in the center of the display, connected to related words and meanings. The four nodes surrounding "art," stand for these four senses of the word:


You may also find useful ArtLex articles about aesthetics, the arts, artist, beaux-arts, craft, graphic design, high art, low art, and music.






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Also see other words beginning with "art", inspiration, masterpiece, quotations, theory, and universal artwork.







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