Someone made a joking comment to the effect of "if you can bullshit well, it can be fine art." Below is my response.
******, I know you are joking, I went to art school as well, and have done my share of bullshiting. However, it only really works if you are the first person to Bullshit it. After that it is just derivative and full of fail.
Jackson Pollick= fine art. The floor of a paint supply store= not fine art.
Soup can= graphic design...painting of a soup can= fine art......
Banksy = Fine Art...me writing my name on a wall in spray paint is not. Both are forms of vandalism, but only one has value beyond the ego of the person who created it.
The point of illustration or graphic design is to convey a specific message to as many people as clearly as possible, one that is not open to interpretation. Fine art is often open to interpretation by the viewer.
While one could argue that the Sistine chapel is meant to communicate a specific story and sell the product of "God." The quality of the work and the fact we are still investigating it to this day sets it apart from "ye local pub," sign.
I would argue that the reason Andy Worhal's work isn't bullshit, is because it touches on the sublime, conceptually While he is reproducing known images, the reason for doing so was to critique modern aesthetics and the concept of art itself. That is to say, by its mere existence, as a body of work, it speaks of something greater than the sum of its parts.
Where as, Thomas Kinkade's work is bullshit, because it is conceptually vacant, and aesthetically unoriginal. His ideas are obvious and pedestrian. The only thing that sets his work apart from from a generic piece of mass produced hotel art is the subject matter. It is still soulless garbage.
I think in the end the sublime can't be bullshitted. Look at Duchamp's "Fountain" piece, something that started out as bullshit, became an effective critique of the art world at the time, and became sublime in spite of itself.
Again, I know you were joking, but it's an important discussion to have, many people think that fine art can't be quantified. However, without definitions and standards, there is no quality control. All art, music etc, is a reflection of the world around us, people often learn more about their surroundings by looking or listening to artists interpretations rather than looking for themselves, and if standards for quality art, music and writing falls, you end up with a world full of artist's like Thomas Kinkade, bands like Nickleback and books like Twilight.