What is art? *UPDATED*

Blouin ArtInfo is out with a slide show purporting to identify the 25 most iconic pieces of art in the past five years.  One of them is Shepard Fairey’s famous, and much pwned image of Obama’s face (illegally stolen from an AP photo), over the word HOPE. The rest you might not recognize. For example, there is one artist’s decision to let ordinary people perform in public (we used to call that “the buskers of Fisherman’s Wharf”). Then there’s a long, slow video of an empty McDonald’s filling with water. And if those don’t float your boat, there’s a museum floor mopped with a solution containing human blood.

Art?  I don’t know.

In the old days, art had three purposes:  to worship God, to record the world in a pre-photographic era, and to create beauty.  I think you will agree with me that none of the 25 art pieces do that (except, perhaps, for the Obama poster, which is clearly God worship).  What are these pieces then and why are they called “art”?  That is, what distinguishes them from any other graphic “thing,” such as a nice piece of furniture, a large rock in the backyard, a messy room, etc.

Your comments would be welcome.  My own sense looking at these things is that the art world, if pressed to be honest, would say that anything that elevates Leftism, and that denigrates capitalism and conservative values, is art.

UPDATEThe Razor’s non-council submission this week for the Watcher’s Council is The Tyranny of Artistic Modernism.  It seems apropos.