What is considered good art and by whose standards?

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default What is considered good art and by whose standards?

Post by Guest on Sun 30 May 2010, 21:44

I am doing a study of "Faith and Reason" written by Pope John Paul II.
Tonight we were talking about objectivity and subjectivity. Art was the
example used to discuss one's own perception of good art and bad art and
the universal perception of it. I am confused by the subject of art. I
personally think good and bad art is subject to one's own personal

Can anyone explain to me what is 'good art'? Like Michelango, Picaso
& Van Gogh versus modern art? And by whose standards is 'good art'
classified as such?

I've never taken an art class, I only draw privately once in a while but
I don't consider myself an artist. What books or websites can I go to
to learn about art?

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default Re: What is considered good art and by whose standards?

Post by Garry on Mon 31 May 2010, 03:27

You'd best consider what you want as a life long quest. I've been a professional artist for 40 years, and I've never stopped learning, or had any desire to stop.

Theres various ways to evaluate art

If you want to create or assess in an established style, then you generally follow the rules of that style.

Contemporary arts - ie. the past 50 years, are always being evaluated and debated. Many art styles are short lived fashion styles, short lived being about 10 years. They become popular then get boring quickly and get replaced by the next new fashion.

So it's hard to define, and also hard to compare with early art traditions.

Pre 1900's art also took the place of the camera for 1000's of years. So history works and portraits were very common.

Around late 1800's the time of the impressionists 2 things were happening. Photography was replacing traditional portrait paintings, and new synthetic paint pigments where created.

They were more vivid and bright than anyone had seen before in artists paint, the thick bold colors of Van Gogh etc explored the new color palette, along with a new freedom to paint in a less strict representational way. It was the begining of the modern era.

You can judge art by technical ability or emotional response, or both. It depends on the market. Who you are trying to impress, the private art collector or large public institutions. With public institutions you need to impress large audiences numbers, with private art collectors you only need to impress one, the collector.

If you are creating for self pleasure, it doesn't matter who your market is, or if you have any at all. You're doing the creating for yourself for whatever reason, and if others happen to like it too, then that's a bonus.

Most art is bounded by cultural context. What is considered good in punk art does not go down well with impressionists, even though the impressionists were the punks of their day.

So in a religious context you would evaluate chapel or sacred art in the context of the patrons tradition. Displaying images of prophets and clergy etc or not for instance.

Often great art transcends the context into another realm of experience as the veiwer engages with the work, and it speak to them in a personal context.

It's this trancending quality that is usually cited as an idicator of good art. Does is speak to an audience, even if it was just intended as a bit of decoration for a bare wall.

There are deeper considerations that can be studied too. Such as if the artist is a complete and utter bastard, does that mean their art can never be 'good'. Or does the artist need to be aware of what they are communicating in a work, or is it irrelevant as the viewer will make up their own mind, especially 100 years later.

We are still finding out why we 'like' an artwork. Outside of the obvious influences such as social attitudes and tastes, we are still a bit vague on the mechanisms that make us go, 'Wow, I like that'.

The current thinking is our DNA memory is loaded with appeasing shapes, colors forms etc. These can be ancient things like fruit and berry colors and shapes, or sexual shapes that trigger our pleasure centre's.

These deep responses become edited with our contemporary ideas and thinking and at the end of it we conclude the art we're looking at is great or crap. Sometimes it can be just the color range. It just doesn't do anything for us, a nice pic, well done in a skilled way, but it's just a pic. But to a person standing next to you, it hits all the right buttons and they just adore it.

It's kinda nice it works like that. It means all art has a chance to be great in someone's eyes, someday.

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