What is Art?
Donald Knuth, 1974 @ CHM
In this portrait of the artist as a young man, bit by bit he realizes that he is a prisoner, yet keeps a hand in both camps.
From comment stream below: I think art is the emergent beauty of computational complexity. We use a process of simple steps to create a pattern or resonant homology to the computational complexity of nature.
Natural beauty, whether fractal or evolved, it the product of iteration. We immediately recognize such constructs as complex and rich (a intricate shell, a landscape). A blank canvas in a gallery or a silent symphony is not art. The art there is at a higher level of abstraction, art in the process itself. The only reason people pay any attention at all to such things is that they represent a symbolic hack to the institution of art, a banner that we've been punked.