i don't want to get too deeply involved in this, as an infamous thread in the lobby lounge went into it great detail.  

one of the best things about art is that it defies accurate descriptions and definitions.  

however, i would say that the artist feels obliged to produce his art regardless of the opinion of others, whereas the entertainer is aware and caters for the requirements of the audience.  for example, van gogh - widely regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time, never sold a painting in his lifetime.  however, despite the fact that they weren't selling, he didn't feel obliged to change his style to something more commercial.  also, when beethoven wrote his later string quartets they were quite heavily criticised.  beethoven replied to one critic - 'they are not for you, they are for the future'.  so if i was forced to make a distinction - i would say that the artist is only interested in his art to the exclusion of all other factors.

this doesn't mean that entertainers can't be artists as well - just because something is popular doesn't mean that it can't be art.  there  have been many great performers over the years who were both entertainers and artists - some obvious examples from early jazz would be people like fats waller and louis armstrong.  often 'entertainer' is used as a derogatory term but this should not be the case.

of course, my definition is a particularly modern one.  to pick holes in my own argument - what about someone like bach who only ever wrote music to satisfy the needs of an employer?  i don't think anyone would say that bach is not an artist.  

however, i do think that there is more involved in art than simply provoking emotion.  if i stand on stage and call the audience a bunch of motherf**kers that will undoubtedly provoke an emotion but i wouldn't say that was artistic.

the visual arts established long ago that art is whatever you say it is and i think the same is true of music.  i guess what i am saying is that it all comes down to the perception of the audience - if you think it's art then how can you possibly be wrong?
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