This paper intends to understand how the essence of art is in the cultural context of a society. Understanding of the nature of art in the cultural context is absolutely necessary, so that researchers can correctly address the arts that will later become objects in their research. For this reason the issues to be discussed are the notions of: culture, art and the nature of art in society.
In everyday terms we often hear people talking about culture, but what they mean by culture is art. There are some people who admire certain dances, certain traditional clothes, traditional architecture, performing arts; or there are also people who are fascinated by oil paintings, poetry readings or regional songs. Then they immediately assessed: “What a great cultural society.” Of course the use of cultural terms there is not wrong, it only needs to be completed; because otherwise culture will only be interpreted narrowly and simply. Then how to make the concept of culture not that narrow.
There is an anthropologist who has modified the concept of culture that departs from the notions that preceded it. He then defines the concept of culture as a whole system of ideas, actions and the work of human beings in the framework of community life that is made the property of humans through the learning process. So almost all human actions are culture, because there are very few human actions in the framework of people’s lives that do not need to be accustomed to learning, namely actions based on instinct, reflexes or blind behavior. Thus it is clear that what is meant by culture is much broader and more complex than art. While art itself is only an element of culture. Other elements are language, knowledge systems, livelihood systems, social organization systems, equipment systems and technology and religious systems. These seven elements are often referred to as the contents of culture, which is a universal element because almost all the people on this earth have these elements; from a very simple to a complex society.
Regarding such cultural boundaries, the explanation that culture is a system of ideas, actions and human works is a cultural perspective outwardly. That is a form of culture. The first form, namely the system of ideas whose contents are ideas, values, norms, rules, customs, rules of etiquette, outlook on life, beliefs, insights and others. This first form is idiotic as well as ideal, abstract, unobservable, intolerable and cognitive; because it’s in the mind of a human head. Whereas the second form is a complex behavior, action or overall human activity. This form can be observed and can be seen and captured by the human senses. While the third form is the work of humans. This form is the most concrete form, because it can be held and visible. He is all objects created by humans such as pins, needles, radios, bridges, cars, houses, computers, satellites, paintings, souvenirs, statues and so on.