Cynthia Freeland, chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Houston, Texas, weighs in on it with her book But Is It Art?: An Introduction to Art Theory. At the outset, she states that "art" is a term that might not even be applicable in many cultures or eras, for it "has taken varied forms in distinct historical contexts....Ancient and modern tribal peoples would not distinguish art from artefact or ritual. Medieval European Christians did not make 'art' as such, but tried to emulate and celebrate God's beauty. In classical Japanese aesthetics, art might include things unexpected by modern Westerners, like a garden, sword, calligraphy scroll, or tea ceremony....High Islamic art includes not just calligraphy but also coins and carpets."
Noted American art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto (1924-2014) believed that American pop artist Andy Warhol (1928-1987) demonstrated that anything can be a work of art--even Campbell's soup cans and Brillo boxes--given the right situation and theory. People hold different things to be art in different eras and different areas of the world for different reasons. Danto is pluralistic in his approach: Art does not have to be a painting, a sculpture, a cathedral, a drama, or a garden. For him, "[n]othing is an artwork without an interpretation that constitutes it as such." Freeland adds that simply declaring that something is art "is not at all the same as saying that it is good art."
What gardens look like works of art to you?
Have gardens enabled you as an artist or has being an artist enabled you as a gardener?
Do you create gardens with an eye toward color, shape, texture, proportion, contrast or let anything grow willy-nilly?