Is there a universal definition of 'art'?
Who decides what is art? These days everything seems to be termed 'art' but what is the criteria for something being called that?
Is it beauty - that can't be, there are certain works of art designed not to be beautiful, especially these days when people seem to be fascinated by the opposite of beauty, so who is to say that isn't art?. For something to be a work of art, beauty is not always a requirement. Another argument against beautiful being the definition of art is that beauty, truly, is in the eye of the beholder although of course there are things that can be termed 'beautiful' universally, take a sunset for example. Anyway beauty is a very subjective concept, colored a lot by our emotions.
Is art a depiction of popular culture? Its critique through artwork. Does every age have its own definition of art...its own set of art work? Years from now what would be termed 'art' - a brilliant code, web designs, cool blogs???
What features do things we call works of art have in common - if any.
The Sistine Chapel, Degas' paintings, Beethoven' 'Ode to Joy', Shakespeare's Hamlet... Why does everyone universally agree on them being works of art? Is art then something that moves us, challenges us, takes us to newer heights we didn't know we could reach. Not only challenges our minds but moves our heart
Or is it the result of the flexing of power of some members of the community, who deem something as 'art' and people follow in droves?
Can it be what connects some atavistic part of our brain to another's'?
In my opinion, art calls out to the ancient in us - before we became modern. It taps into the divine in all of us because it transcends mortality and mediocrity to reach beyond and create something majestic. Something that awes and stuns with its sheer magnificence, its power.
Much like most philosophical ramblings this one doesn't have an answer that can fit like a formula - everyone will have their opinion about it. But then thats what so great about being....it is what can be termed 'art'