Encyclopaedias of argument have been written on this subject I imagine. Some of the conclusions reached don't do it for me. I've come across lots of upturned noses concerning the Impressionists, for example, with disparaging references to their works being 'pretty'. Why must 'art' be ugly, I'd ask?
My teacher encouraged me to draw with this question in mind always asking but never finding answers in the words ... only through the activity itself and the physical sense of touch we attain states of no thought and the artwork comes about as a by product of that
My 'teacher[if he could be so referred?]' - encouraged me to draw with no question or awareness in mind - not even the sense of touch... and so we each describe an attitudinal-state-of-being to deal with the ingenuous question: What i.....
Exercising creativity to express something, emotions, thoughts or whatever. In reality the definition tends to be set by each artist who then spends lots of time and effort convincing others that what they are making is indeed art.
What I was going to say until I saw Dave's message ... bodhicitta is the mind pleasing to God ... and yes there are lots of tricky things we find along the way ... that is the work of the critical faculty always thinking never satisfied ... but beautiful things happen if we can learn how to let it go (BUT that doesn't mean that EVERY VIEW IS RIGHT because clinging is what the ego does and art must be free)
I suspect that what lies behind this question a lot of the time are the missing words GOOD and BAD. Let's assume an artist who has his or her work published all over the world, is a household name, has work hanging in galleries and fought over in bidding wars by the super rich must be GOOD. Yet individuals may look at it and find it ugly or pointless or just feel indifference towards it. Does that mean those individuals lack taste or the rest of the world is being conned or some collective madness exists in the world of art? Or is there a universal standard, even if no one can agree what it is? On this site, is GOOD art the stuff that sells and work that doesn't is therefore BAD or NOT GOOD ENOUGH? I guess it's all Art in one way or another, but the question gets really interesting when you try to rank it!
Art is performance. Art is act. Art is for somebody - somebody other than its creator.
Art is not the paint, the frame, the note, the word, the pixel, the stone, the clay, the bronze etc.
These art objects or artefacts give rise to a unique response by the auditor, viewer, reader etc.
Art is the viewing of an object or the acts of varied groupings of human activity involving the creative endeavors of visual, auditory or performing works that entertain our emotions and imagination, and conceptual ideas.
Technical skills within the artwork/s are required and are intended to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotive power.
Related to the production of works, include art criticism, art history, applied art like interior and exterior decorating, story telling, performing, showing, art on products, art education, and the selling and marketing of it all.
Wow, that was hard to answer as I was trying to answer your question from a global standpoint because of the diversity of art.
Otherwise, in non-plague times, when I get invites to a lot of local openings, which are, in part, social events, I'd have to insult or rebuff a lot of people that have objects on walls and pedestals by telling them that theirs is not art. Of course, my judgement on this is final, nobody else's counts for anything. All of the people in the gallery who liked those objects are, of course, idiots or people with no judgement or taste or knowledge of art.
I guess everybody else is doing the same thing, but I'm the one that is right.