Definition of Art:
A definition of art is notoriously difficult to formulate, however, it can be applied to anything that is aesthetically appealing to the human eye, something “beautiful” that has more than usual significance in the pantheon of aesthetic objects created by humans. The term “created by humans” gives us another clue about the nature of Art: it is man-made; it is an attempt of sorts to improve upon, or supplement Nature.
The dictionary.reference indicated art as “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance” (Dictionary.reference 2011). On the other hand, thefreedictionary defined art as “Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature” (Thefreedictionary 2011).
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The painting ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent van Gogh is a case in point, it is an imaginative exploration of the night sky. The cool, dark sky, dotted with huge, brilliant sparks of light are a celebration of a beauty that pervades our imagination, especially when we are children.
Auguste Rodin’s ‘Eternal Spring’ is a sculpture that was originally conceived as a part of the ‘Gates of Hell’. However, the expression of happiness on the faces of the two embracing figures was incongruous. The sculpture is known for the vitality of its execution and the flawless rendition of the human figures.
The Parthenon is an ancient Greek temple, located in the Athenian Acropolis; it was dedicated to the goddess Athena, the patron Goddess of Athens. Built in marble, it is known for its landmark sculptures which only partially survive to this day. The Parthenon is considered to be one of the most important symbols of what the Greek culture was capable of at its peak.
Sally Mann-The Family and the land
Sally Mann’s exhibition, ‘The Family and the Land’ draws together various series of images that are a part of her long career as a photographer of stark, beautiful, and disturbing images . It includes pictures from her most controversial series ‘Immediate Family’, that show her three children in poses adopted by adults, ‘Deep South’ is a series that explores Civil War history in America, while ‘What Remains’ is a portrayal of the body in various stages of decomposition as it returns to the land.
The painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a frequent patron of the boisterous dance and drinking hall of the Moulin Rouge in Paris. Soon he was asked to do an advertisement for them that made him famous, because of its size, bright colors and innovative techniques used for the poster art- it became known as the ‘La Goulue’.
Joseph Kosuth, One and Three Chairs
Joseph Kosuth’s ‘One and Three Chairs’ is an example of conceptual art, consisting of a chair, its picture, and the dictionary definition of a chair. The work aims at problematizing the relations among an object, and its visual and verbal representations.
Alan McCollum, in his ‘Shapes Project’, intends to create a unique ‘shape’ for each human being alive on the planet using 300 different abstract features. McCollum, through his project emphasizes an oft neglected paradox: that the most common thing among humans is their uniqueness.
Marina Abramovi%u0107: Seven Easy Pieces
Marina Abramovic’s ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ is a reenactment of seven landmark pieces of performance art from the seventies. Each work was performed for seven hours over the course of seven days, and is homage to the human body’s endurance, and versatility.