From a thread about why seemingly random splotches and colors can be thought of as art:
“Think of art as a community forum. Art is all about what came before you, and you’re thoughts/reaction to it or a reply about it.
Someone scribbles an outline of an animal on a cave wall.
Someone looks at that and goes, hey lets add some definition.
Someone creates art depicting a religious scene inspired by church.
Someone replies “I can do better” with an even bigger religious scene.
Another post about how “it would be nicer if you depict realism instead of these saints and gods”.
Someone else goes “hey how about drawing poor people instead of rich nobles and kings”.
Another person is like “this is too depressing, lets use lots of unrealistic colors to portray my emotions.”
Someone else goes “why even bother with one view of people or things, i like to make things abstract and complicated.”
Someone else is like “well if you like that then you’ll like my nonsense and irrationality.”
And then DuChamp goes “Oh you like that huh? how about this upside down urinal”.
Then Freud came out with his theories, and everyone is like “OMG SEX and PENISES and WET DREAMS.”
Pollock is like “F all you guys, here is the result of communing with the canvas and i’m better then you.”
Warhol was like “i reject your scribbles, but i love this advertisement.”
and you come to the more modern ideas of photo realism, which was a backlash to abstract expressionists, and minimalism, because we were like.. enough of all this stuff! My eyes are tired!”
Full thread from the ‘Explain Like I’m Five’ subreddit http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/1x5f3n/eli5why_are_some_paintings_that_look_like_a_bunch/cf8gtsb
Image from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AltamiraBison.jpg