Funny enough, shortly after I asked myself this question, the Tages-Anzeiger (Zurich newspaper) magazine published an excerpt of a book (in four languages) : Was ist Kunst? 27 Fragen und Antworten, Herausgeber Beyeler Museum Basel, Hatje Cantz Verlag, – Translation: What is Art? 27 Questions and Answers, Edited by Beyeler Museum Basel, Publisher Hatje Cantz .
I like the following answers:
Maja Hoffmann, art patron and founder of the LUMA Foundation, London says: “Art unlocks doors and opens new perspectives. – For me, it is a way to express emotions, a bridge leading to a better understanding of connections or relationships, a link to the universe. – Art is the joy of feeling strong emotions – a key to a dream/nightmare world.” (Translated from German by hj).
Sam Keller, director of the Beyeler Museum, Beyeler Foundation, Riehen/Basel: “Art makes visible what we feel, think, fear or wish. – Art is when people are able to create something visible that expresses something so unique and touching about the world and life, love and pain, that others recognize it as true or beautiful.” (Translated from German by hj).
Alain Berset, Minister of culture of Switzerland, Bern: “Art creates a space for questions that cannot be asked anywhere else. Art is an unparallelled field of experimentation for new ideas. It is synonymous with renewal and exchange. And finally, let’s not forget, art is a source of pleasure for people, allows them to find self-realization and to relax. Without art, there is no human nature, no civilization, no community life.”
(Translated from German by hj).