The Definition of Art is a Zen Koan

For centuries people have debated over the definition of art. What qualifies as art, and what doesn’t? My wife Katie and I have probably had hundreds of hours’ worth of conversations over where the line between ‘art’ and ‘craft’ falls. Ultimately I think the definition of art is a zen koan. There is no answer. We need to continually try to define art because it’s the means through which we increase our personal appreciation of art.

Having a single, definitive definition of what art is would exclude people. New artists, with new materials and techniques and things to say, would automatically be left out of the conversation. It wouldn’t even lock art to the present, because it couldn’t even accommodate things being created right now. It would have to be based on some point in the past. Definition would create stagnation.

Art is a Zen Koan

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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