Marcel Duchamp Urinoir

What is Art?

Art definitions from the artists and art professionals of today

Art as we know it barely exits for more than one hundred years. We group here the result of a constant veil: What is this art and its purpose? Exit the old quotes from Picasso and Van Gogh everyone is spamming on the Internet. Everything here is actual and from persons implicated, dealing with the art notion everyday.

We are primarily posting them on our Instagram account 

How do you define art?

Brian Eno

“Art is everything you don’t have to do”
Architectural Association – School of Architecture (Dec 2016)


“I think that art is cool because you can create your own things.
When I started art, I thought it was just about making it perfect,
but you don’t have to care what other people say.
That can still mean art to you.”
-What is Conceptual Art? | Tate Kids

Eric Booth

“Entertainment, what distinguishes it is that it happens within what we already know. Whatever our reaction: laughing, crying, getting excited… Underneath it, entertainment says “yep, the world is the way you think it is it”. And it feels great, man I love having highly skilled people or great technology or cool interesting things confirming my sense of the way things are fantastic, worth big money.

Outside of the known

“What distinguishes art is that it happens outside of what we already know. Inherent in the artistic experience is the capacity to expand our sense of the way the world is or might be.”
Carnegie Hall

Helen Martineau

“Both artist and audience make up a work of art. Each one of us needs to come to an understanding of its deeper purpose.”
“An artwork is not complete until it is received by others. Art lives in our response. The spectator, the listener, is as important as the doer.”
Book: Prodigal daughters

Leon Bolstein

“There are people who think precisely because art is imaginary in some way, it isn’t real and it isn’t useful in some way, is a kind of mirage that distorts our sense of value. Famously Plato had his doubts about poetry and about certain kinds of art-making.”

Ponzi scheme

“There is a long tradition of suspicion that art, first of all, is a conceit among a very small group of human beings who try to make themselves superior through a kind of Ponzi scheme of values that they all inhabit and they exclude other people from. It’s a Ponzi scheme because it really has no value at the end of the day.”
•Art Now (Aesthetics Across Music, Painting, Architecture, Movies, and More.) Bigthink

Seth Godin

“By art obviously Marcel Duchamp nude descending a staircase, obviously Pablo Picasso, clearly Jackson Pollock, this is art: a human being doing something – it might not work – that connects us and draws us closer.”
“Your Job is to Make Art – Seth Godin” at ConvertKit Craft & Commerce 2017

Tim Bengel

“It seems that many people have the feeling that only elite experts are allowed to have a real opinion on art.
This uncertainty of having your own opinion is shown quite well. A statistic which I saw in a presentation of art historian Magnus Resh: he presented that from 2007 to 2017 the number of annually sold artworks decreased by 20% and this even though the number of millionaires has more than doubled in the same time. So the problem is not the money and the problem is not the general interest in art.”

Definition of few experts

“I think the problem is a disconnection between the majority of people and an art world which seems to be determined by a few experts. if we would fix this disconnection and give people more confidence in their own view on art everybody would profit. In the end, only people who address their own opinion will enjoy and buy an artwork.”
Tedx Mannheim

Victor Hugo Zayas

The best answer I’ve ever heard was from an 8-year-old. And this was, of course, a very smart guy, very bright little kid, I was having dinner at my friend’s house. And this kid was just incredible and we were talking back and forth. I asked him, and without even thinking about it, he says, “Art is when you draw the heart of something.”

“And I said, “Oh, wow.” I mean, oh my God, this is amazing, you know. It was beautiful. So why should I ask anyone else?”
Art Center College Of Design”

Purpose of Art

Anthony Gormley

“I was really tired of art about art.“

“It’s very, a strange idea about human imagination that actually art is only permissible by what has just happened in the generation before. Life isn’t like that.”

“Let’s not talk about art and the languages of art. Let’s talk about life.”


“If we think about Mondrian, or Kandinsky, or even somebody like Klee. They were trying to find a language that really was universal. That could somehow re-animate life, by giving us things that we could relate to immediately.”
– Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation with Antony Gormley – Dec 20, 2014, Zentrum Paul Klee

Ben Jeffery

“The business of the modern artist is itself an exemplary form of cutting-edge enterprise: dependent on brand-identity, self-commodification, opportunism, novelty, relentless networking, and a heavily blurred line between life and work.”
-Ben Jeffery
“Ancient Curse” article about Michel Houellebecq “The Map and the Territory” Nplusone magazine

Jacques Rancière

Art does not exist in itself; it is an outcome of a complex set of relationships between what one is allowed to say, to perceive, and to understand. Events and objects only exist within the fabric of discourse and are perceived as art, or a revolution in art, only within this fabric.

The Sensible

Art is a work on the distribution of the sensible. Sometimes, but not very often, it rearranges the set of perception between what is visible, thinkable, and understandable, and what is not. This is the politics of art. I always try to question mainstream ideas on this subject, especially the assumption that artists’ work can have precise, intended effects. When practices of art affect the sensible, it is not simply as a result of artists’ intentions.

-Versobooks “The Politics of Art” Interview by Anna Wójcik

Leo Gura

“In a way, art is like lubrication for the engine of humanity. Without art, the engine would just run and it would quickly burn itself out because you might think like well an engine is very mechanical it’s got these hard edges and it just kind of works very mechanically and robotically. That’s true but also without that organic component of oil lubricating all the parts how quickly will your engine break almost instantly you see you need that lubrication you need that sort of soft-touch.”

Artists making an impact

“That’s what art provides of course for artists making an impact in the world is a very important thing and many of them actually get caught in this trap of seeking approval where they start to lose sight of their art and the reason they got into the art for the first place which is to have their spiritual connections”
Understanding The Essence Of Art – actualized

Scarlett Johansson

“Art Should Be Immune to Political Correctness”
Asifmagazine – GettyImages

Stuart Semple

“Art is free. It adds richness to lived experience; it can be the icing on the cake without having to save any lives or the world. It can get lost and it can fail beautifully. It can be pathetic and that’s why I love it.”
-Flaunt Magazine, Interview by Melissa Mellati, photo Sarah Morris

Value of Art

Jessica Morgan

“I’ve experienced this my entire career, it’s extremely frustrating that people who only begin to value the work once it has literally a higher value, a monetary value that is higher. And that’s especially true with women artists. We’ve seen this over and over again that for decades their work is completely ignored and then for whatever reason, there is a shift and perception and with that shift in and the price structure and suddenly everybody’s interested.”

Consequences on art pricing

“I don’t think we ever begin to work with an artist thinking out it would affect their market. It’s completely not what’s on our mind. But it would be naive to say that we’re completely unconscious of what these ramifications are.”
-Jessica Morgan Director Dia Art foundation
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