Yes, art can be defined. but watch the context, the cultural and historical period. Art or arts ? Which art ?
Then see also Horace, the Roman poet.
See also craft ( as in 19th. c. ” Arts and crafts” ) . etc. Clear the decks.
Or are we attempting a definition in this 21 st. c. ?
Where we do the defining is also important. eg. Take Ireland and, say, the contemporary art of composed music.
Why do I insist that in Ireland still today there is hardly a concept, a definition, even the possibility of defining composed musical works , music composed by Irish composers – music as art, indeed as Irish art, as an art on a level with eg. Irish poetry, film, painting etc.
What are the causes of this blindness, this prejudice, this exclusion of this definition ? Are they dogmatic ? Lazy thinking? Could it be lack of experiencing New Irish Music, is that it ? Hmmm. Mull this over.
There have in the past been many definitions of art, of musical composition. ( It´s also worth reflecting a moment on some of the things we still today may define composing music as: sicut fumus, like smoke, ethereal. Yes, it is a temporal art, indeed THE time-art par excellence – time-bending, stretching, sculpting, stitching, overlapping, deluding, defying, conquering. ( – See Rosenstock´s great lines in MIGMARS : ” Buailim bob ar bhás! ” )
Composing is hope, it’s utopian, mythic, teeth-pulling, fighting the good fight. If “cinis aequat omnia”, still a Frank Corcoran composition will yell and shout and erect, trumpet out its own resistance to Montague´s : ” For there is no sea / Except the sea of history / Upon which we all turn / Turn and thrash / And disappear… ”
Music keens, protests, praises a fightin´ transcendence which potentially lives beyond the grave.
Certainly, music can be defined. Art can be defined. Irish contemporary music fights STILL for its place in defining Ireland, Irish art, Irish artists and , well, music .