Because I have no sense I am going to take on one of the 'big' questions and answer it definitively.
So then. What is art?
A creation by a human with something detectably human about it...evidence of the creators hand and thought that registers beyond the immediate sensory impression.
I don't make distinctions between high art and low art because that's deeply fucking repulsive. There isn't one. It all comes down to a question of 'does it communicate something beyond its apparent form?'
It really isn't any more complicated than this.
Now that we have that little issue cleared up, what about those so-called artists who give the whole effort a black eye? Whose work is so bad, so irresponsible, so contemptuously produced that it makes baby Jesus cry?
What is BAD art?
Let's ask a hamster!
guest deceased hamster Bluto Schmuggleware, recently gone to his reward via an overdose of amyl nitrate, yet STILL completely without odor. Call the pope!
"Mr. Schmuggleware, define 'bad art'.
A guy named Arthur with a police record.
"Your attempt at levity has not added anything to the intellectual tone of this inquiry. Bad art is...?
Listen, I mainly look at the ladies. You keep asking me to critique this shit and-
OK. Now that's BAD.
Let's interrupt this for a moment and check on Baby Jesus:
Ok. Now let's go on.
"...Philistine; that is the work of internationally renowned Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Light! He creates some of the most sought-after images of our time!
Fine; I'm just saying that I've had bad gas in public restrooms with better wallpaper. That includes the graffiti.
"You cannot tell me that this next image does NOT stir the very depths of your rodent soul:
Isn't that that one scene in 'Mary Poppins' when they go through the chalk painting...?
"No! This is clearly an image of reverence and devotion.
It's that planet where the Care Bears come from...?
"It is a Garden of Prayer! You can tell by the magic cotton candy trees.
This next one might be a bit more accessible. Here:
Um....ok. It's the fabled Lost Temple of the WASPs...?
The 'Wee Kirk o' the Rill Tainted With Agricultural Runoff'?
"No no no! It's not even about a church! Everything about this scene evokes the solace of religion. Even the title was chosen to convey a sense of God's promise...'Sun(you see the play on words here?) rise Chapel'. As in 'The Son has risen!' Get it? Sun? Son? Risen? Morning? Two messages in one! A beautiful harmony of meaning beautifully and harmoniously joined together like twin ply toilet paper, the pink** scented kind with the wavy designs embossed in it.
People buy this stuff by the metric shitpile. Why?
1. It's pretty. Everyone likes pretty, right? It's not like, say, beautiful, because beautiful demands a little interaction. Pretty is just....nice.
2. Look at the palette. Remind anyone of a particular decade? That's right! It goes with old people's furniture! Pink, peach, grey and green...Mom and dad have all that disposable income now that the kids have flown, and what better way to display this newfound affluence than by purchasing a piece of art? One that already matches their decor?
3. The subject matter is easily recognizable. By God, a house looks like a house and a tree looks like a tree. Nothing at all like that modern stuff where you can't tell what the fuck its supposed to be of.
This guy's work is the visual equivalent of a prostitute smoking down her cigarette while she waits for her client to 'get finished'.
Is it art? Yup.
And the message is 'write the check, asshole'.
*And a 'thank you kindly' to Tickersoid, our man in Pontyhotpant, the word 'Sensory', and his amazing brain.
**I wonder if the artists preoccupation with the color pink might be evidence of a deeper level of symbolism? A subtle yet overarching acknowledgement of the female creative principle? Or maybe it hints at a primeval spirituality that can be apprehended only after ingesting certain hallucinogenic cacti and tripping on children's programming?
I think the answer is obvious.