The most widely used meaning of art is very narrow and associates the forms of art traditionally recognized, such as literature, architecture, painting, sculpture, music, cinema, drama, photography. E.g. we call artworks The Divine Comedy by Dante, Orson Welles Citizen Kane, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3, Starry Night by Van Gogh, Donatello’s David , Mole Antonelliana, Shakespeare’s Othello, photos by Henry Cartier-Bresson, etc. The right term is expressive art, not to confound with other generic meanings of art.
In such narrow meaning, art is closely related to the ability of transmitting deep contents and messages. In its most sublime sense, art is the expression of human interiority’s aesthetics. It reflects the artist’s opinions in the social, moral, cultural, ethical and religious fields of his historical period. But it’s not enough.
Art is a holistic experience synonymous with deep contents, intriguing narration, fine aesthetics, creativity, originality, innovation, complexity, high level of expression and intellectual and emotional involvement.
Making and enjoying art needs advanced cultural skills, documentation, researches and studies.
Hence art becomes an intellectual and social commitment that ennobles people consciousness; artists and people loving their works, both lead a complex and challenging research, with huge existential, cultural and social consequences; art is useful to diffuse values, thoughts, ideas and deep feelings, essential for individual and social construction and survival and for historical evolution.
But it is not enough.
To make art we need a medium with unique and distinctive characteristics that must ensure authorial expression, complex and stratified contents; it is important that authors could develop a peculiar language , effective for the transmission of ideas and values through a sort of “narration” or “storytelling” that can also be abstract, implicit and symbolic. It is also essential that this medium could offer the possibility of doing experiments and testing innovative aesthetics. To do that, the artists have to master peculiar techniques, personal, advanced, innovative, original, uncommon, resulting from many years of studies and research. Techniques have to be only targeted to artistic expression and to audience involvement, and not necessary to other skills in other fields of human experience.
This narrow meaning of art is the most modern one, the most useful in order to avoid the abuse of the terms “art”, “artwork” and “masterpiece”.
We cannot deny that we can find artistic inspiration everywhere, art in its broadest meaning is everywhere; we cannot also deny that there are shades and boundaries not perfectly defined. But in this way at least we can talk with objectivity, criteria and logic about videogames and art!
The critical discussion about this subject is always alive. To learn more, I refer you to the recommended bibliography and websites list.