Danto (1973) asserts that an object cannot be claimed as art unless there is a place prepared for it within the art institution. As a consequence of the prior history of art production, both in the general institutional space and by the artist; Maurizio Cattelan can mount a banana and call it a work of art because Marcel Duchamp prepared that space already – such an observation has made art writers and philosophers well aware of the dependency of an art object on the art-historical context in which it is created and presented. “In turn, this has led to definitions that regard the process by which art’s history unfolds as part of art’s defining character” (Adajian, 2001).
Today, the digital space is becoming more and more augmented and with a global pandemic impeding physical movement, it becomes an important tool to establish relevance and visibility within the art discipline on social media. The arbitrary nature of social media; a space charged with personal opinions and polarised views pledges extended individual authority and agency over practice; where the artists can now be their own institution and govern their own practice – giving the sentiment that the artist of today wants to claim art in their own terms is unwittingly a claim and cementation of the post-modern genealogy. This means that the overall practice of art because of this theoretical context is still functioning within the realms of the formal institution, making the defining process of art still heavily reliant on the formal art institution. The only thing changing is the exhibiting methods; physical location is relaxed; the curatorial process is also easily falling on the artist. However, the symbolic significance of the space still heavily relies on the formal institution along with the value system attached to the circulation of objects and images which matters because most committed collectors, dealers and general clients’ confidence is placed in the formal art institution as the official custodians of art.
Claiming an object as art involves a process of defining art, which is a battle that can neither be won or lost. An extension can be made to say that the only reason art is art is because of the subjections that keeps on challenging and inspiring philosophical theorising of art that influences praxis. What is apparent is that art has vague boundaries and even more important to consider now and challenge is the value process of art that is not illuminated in any definition.