The game changers – the square pegs, so to speak – are those who saw traditional standards of beauty and decided specifically to go against them, perhaps just to prove a point.
Take Picasso, Munch, Schoenberg, to name just three.
So how can we define art in terms applying to both cave-dwellers and modern city sophisticates?
Furthermore, ‘communication’ is not the best word for what I have in mind because it implies an unwarranted intention about the content represented.
Aesthetic responses are often underdetermined by the artist’s intentions.
However, art is not necessarily positive: it can be deliberately hurtful or displeasing: it can make you think about or consider things that you would rather not.
But if it evokes an emotion in you, then it is art.