Hva er kunst?

Den filosofen Denis Dutton undersøkt årevis for å finne fellestrekk i det som kulturer oppfatter som «kunst». Han fant spesifikke egenskaper i kunstverk tvers kulturer – ikke alle kunstverk hadde alle egenskaper, men alle hadde noen av de:

  1. fremkaller nytelse
  2. demonstrerer håndverk og mestring
  3. tar i bruk form
  4. demonstrerer kreativitet og nyhet
  5. hører til en kritisk tradisjon
  6. tar i bruk representasjon (mimesis)
  7. har en spesiell fokus (ikke vanlig liv)
  8. uttrykker ekspressivt individualitet
  9. er gjennomsyret med følelse
  10. er intellektuelt utfordrende
  11. tilhører tradisjoner og institusjoner
  12. tar i bruk skapte erfaring (fantasi)
Kilde: Dutton, Denis. The Art Instinct (New York: Bloomsbury, 2009)

S.W.

My dear Sir Art is useless because its aim is simply to create a mood. It is not meant to instruct, or to influence action in any way. It is superbly sterile, and the note of its pleasure is sterility. If the contemplation of a work of art is followed by activity of any kind, the work is either of a very second-rate order, or the spectator has failed to realise the complete artistic impression. A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it. That is all that is to be said about our relations to flowers. Of course man may sell the flower, and so make it useful to him, but this has nothing to do with the flower. It is not part of its essence. It is accidental. It is a misuse. All this is I fear very obscure. But the subject is a long one.

Truly yours,

Oscar Wilde


Lawrence Weiner (conceptual artist, born 1942):
«The purpose of art is to ask question.”