The quest to define art continues. Books are read, papers are written. My personal opinion is that it’s art if someone says it is (provided it’s human-created, not just nature in the raw). Getting a definition out of the way lets you then focus on good vs. bad art, rather than the more pointless “is it art or not?”.
In my research on the subject, I came across a rather amusing story. Damien Hirst, one of the enfant terribles of the modern art world (well, he’s not an enfant any more), created a piece he called Away from the Flock, which consisted of a dead sheep floating in formaldehyde. Another artist, named Mark Bridger, felt inspired to do a little creating of his own, and he poured a vial of ink into the tank, retitled the exhibit Black Sheep, and offered his business card to the curator.
Bridger was charged with criminal mischief rather than creating art, but a few years later, he turned the tables. Hirst had created a catalog of his work, and made a pull-tab for the page on Away from the Flock so that it would be obscured with black, just as it had been when it was “inked”. Bridger responded by suing Hirst for copyright, saying that Black Sheep was his work not Hirst’s, and could not be reproduced in the book without his permission.
Alas, I have not been able to discover the outcome of the lawsuit.