Art! What a subjective topic! Defining art first makes me think of the cliche, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What do I think is beautiful? What do I like? I do know what I like; you know what you like. I think most people respond to an artwork according to their emotions. But, that is not all that is happening.
May-be the cliche could be revised to it's all in the mind of the beholder. Because, our second thought may be should I like this piece?. Does it have merit? Is it well made? Especially with abstract art, a question is raised; am I being duped? There needs to be a balance between feelings and thoughts. Art critics, artists, and other like minded individuals study and analyze art and why they respond to a particular piece of artwork. And, so they should. Without some authority with a voice, artists can become jaded and art appreciation can become a farce. I believe at least one very well known, cubist artist put a random mark on a piece of paper to see if someone would buy it just because it was his creation. And, there is really nothing new under the sun; broken plates anyone?
Is it really the pocketbook of the beholder that matters? There is some discussion and amusement (maybe disquised anger) in art circles about the mass marketing of the images of a current painter of light. Correct me if I'm wrong but I've seen coffee mugs with photos of the yellow fields and blue skies painted by a certain mad painter. Just think about the posters, calenders, postcards, and greeting cards sold in museum gift shops. Well, we gotta support the arts.
The contraversies and the variety of different thoughts, styles and schools of art is a fascinating and a broad topic. It is too broad for this dicussion. After studying art for awhile, I know a few things and I don't know alot of things. But, I'm sure I know what I like. Here is link to one artwork that I respond to on a completely emotional level. Go to http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/pinfo?Object=68184+0+none