There are those who say the Turner Prize entries aren't art because there is no painting or sculpture among them, but this is too narrow a view. The Romans, who invented the word (ars in Latin), used it for any sort of expertise, however banausic, and Dr Johnson was observing its proper sense when he told Boswell there was an art in getting drunk.
Confusion arose when scholars started distinguishing between the arts and the sciences, something the medieval schoolmen had never really done. The new idea was that scientia, from scire, to know, was concerned with finding things out, while ars was concerned with more than just knowledge - it was a special know-how or, in the old-fashioned sense, a mystery, much superior to all that poring over test tubes. It's a dubious distinction at best, and considering how close to each other the words used to be it's a matter of chance that we didn't end up talking about the fine sciences.
So forget about the fine arts and whether the Turner entries qualify for them. People were asking much the same question 80 years ago, when Marcel Duchamp foreshadowed the Conceptual Art movement by exhibiting an upturned urinal. No point in asking it again. Just apply the Philistine's Test.Reuse content