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What is art?

What is art? Can art be defined? How? Also, what is modern art? Is it truly art?

I was discussing art with a teacher of mine, and she was using two definitions as the basis for what she had to say. She was using the definitions of Aristotle and Tolstoy. It seemed to me that these definitions provide an inaccurate description of art, rendering the majority of her argument invalid.
One of my biggest disagreements with what she had to say was on the topic of modern art. It is the belief of her, and some of my classmates, that modern art isn't really art. The point that they pursued the most was that modern art took less skill. The example they used was Jackson Pollock. They believed that his splatter painting took no real skill, and that because it was "just splattered paint" it took no skill to produce. They had the same thing to say about ready made art.
It was their opinion that such things were only popular, or regarded as art, because of the artist responsible for the product.
I want to know what YOU think art is, and why you think that. What does art do to you, how does it make you feel?
Also, I'd like to hear about your opinions on Tolstoy's definition of art pertaining specifically to modern art.
Thank you to all that respond, and I hope that my questions really get you thinking.

Aristotle's definition of art -
Tolstoy's definition of art -
Jackson Pollock -

  • May 23 2014: On my point of view,art is just the way we present our abstract feelings or creativity through painting,writing,acting or even performing either on stage or wherever else. It is mostly associate with the way our culture is being projected and subjected to change to meet the concepts and standards expected by that society. that is to mean modern arts is dynamic and can be defined in the context of a particular society involved or the entire generation point of view.
  • May 4 2014: Art is beauty. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

    "Tolstoy rejected any definition of art based on a conception of beauty." Somebody is telling me that Tolstoy disagrees with me.
    "Since we have no objective way of defining beauty, it merely becomes defined as what pleases us, which is different for each person." Tolstoy agrees with me.
    "The only clear definition of art can lie in its function, which is the transmission of feeling." He still agrees with me because ugliness is beautiful to the artist that produces it.
    "Art can then be judged on how well it transmits feelings (infectiousness) and on the value of the feelings transmitted (truth or goodness)." And still agrees.

    So, Tolstoy didn't reject "art is beauty." Somebody wanted him to. Because they wanted a big name on their side of the argument? Because they wanted to make money out of producing ugliness?