Let me explain.
Art is an identifier that people invented in order to categorize and process human expression.
When an art object is made, it is just an object. The meaning is placed from the maker and the viewer of the art.
A man could make a chair and a man could make an abstract sculpture. Both exist in 3d space and both have the potential to have the same amount of meaning and value.
When a man plans to make a chair he sets intentions to manifest the idea in real time and space. The time spent on the chair has no correlation to the value or meaning of the chair when it is "finished".
The chair is different every day although it may look fairly similar it did the day before. The chairs integrity is affected by physics both from the real world and time as well as the physical human interaction associated with it. A chair's intention is to act as a seating device for humans. This is the implication that we all asign when we see a chair or group of chairs.
When the chair's form is obstructed, the meaning shifts to be more subjective. If someonewere to remove one of the legs of the chair, the immediate response would be that the chair cannot serve it's original seating purpose. The chair this becomes a convoluted object that could be interpreted as something dangerous, off putting or down right silly.
If a chair of historical significance is set up in a museum and put behind a security rope, then it's meaning is transformed based on the context and implications. The museum implies that all or most objects on display are sacred. Therefore, a chair that was originally intended for sitting and serving a purpose turns into an object on display. The museum and sophisticated individuals assign a value to the chair to show off it's illusory importance.
The people of a museum and curators alike hold a role in determining the value of the object or "art" object. The value is influenced by it's monetary worth, historical relevance, and aesthetic uniqueness.
Could a three legged chair be classified as an art object?
If you place a three legged chair in a gallery, does it's implied context make it art?
One could argue that placing an object in a white walled gallery could change it's meaning based on context. Based upon patterns of behavior in the art world, this rings true. By removing a leg of the chair you are changing it into an object removed from it's original intention. By placing the chair in a gallery, you assume that this manipulated object belongs in the gallery and that it is art.
The chair becomes an abstract sculpture.
One can identify with it because it somewhat resembles a chair, but it doesn't quite make the cut since it is manipulated. If the three legged chair were to be tossed in a dumpster, the meaning would change based on the it's contextual atmosphere. One could logically assume that the chair is broken and that is trash based on the environment around it.
If people cannot identify or classify an object into a certain box, genre or type, then it becomes abstract and could be called art if the viewer chose to see it that way.
We have been conditioned that white walls and exceptional lighting is the appropriate atmosphere to display and "sell" "art". An artist could take or make an object to a gallery and have people interpret it's artistic validity.
Is it art if a group of educated people call it art?
Is it art if it has a high monetary value?
Is it "good" art if the object has a high monetary value?
"Art" is another box that we like put things in. Art is defined by institutions,
Galleries, businesses, magazines, patrons and artists. It has the same relevance as saying, " That is bread! It must be bread because it looks like bread so I think that we should call it bread!" ( Even if it is a croissant )
Since art is so heavily based on the eye of the beholder or beholders then it doesn't actually exist. You cannot refute a man that tells you that a piece isn't art when you think that it is art. It may be art to you, but it may just be an "object" to them. One piece of art may have more of a significant meaning to them than it does to you. Does that mean that it is more valuable or more art than you "think" it is? Absolutely not.
One may see a painting of a sailboat and like it because of that one time you went on a sail boat with his or hers family in the past. The viewer then assigns an emotional attachment to the painting that is only significant and relevant to their realm of consciousness. Others may have similar feelings toward the same painting, but it cannot be quantified as the same.
Art can ignite a reaction. Rather, an object intended to be called art from the artist can ignite a reaction.
The artist defines himself as an artist by making art. He through intention, expression and experimentation make objects, performances, writing or destruction. The artist has a vision and feels what he makes. The title of "artist" could theoretically apply to an object maker that uses creative and critical thinking. The artist should never be defined on where he or she shows the art, the price of the art or how culturally significant the meaning of the art is.
A three legged chair has the same potential and illusory significance as a Van Gogh painting.
Art exists how YOU define it.
Art can always change to non-art when you want it to change.
Art is a magnificent illusory concept that separates us from chimps and allows us to express ourselves in infinite ways.
Art is mans response to nature and the madness and understanding of the ever changing human mind and consciousness.
Life can be art and art can be life.
It's up to you to define it.