good art and bad art?

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good art and bad art?

Post by kordofany » May 16th, 2018, 1:54 am

If artistic tasting is a purely personal matter, how do we divide art into bad art and good art?

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by LuckyR » May 16th, 2018, 2:52 am

kordofany wrote:
May 16th, 2018, 1:54 am
If artistic tasting is a purely personal matter, how do we divide art into bad art and good art?
Purely personally?
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by kordofany » May 16th, 2018, 8:49 am

I think so

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 9th, 2018, 10:43 pm

A worthy question: for is there is nothing to the proposition that one is better than another in any possible judgment, then art criticism would be denied any validity beyond the arbitrariness of "taste". Trouble is, taste cannot be ignored, that is, the element of a standard driven assessment that may present itself is going to inevitably be made ambiguous by the arbitrary disposition that also drives judgment. I may have a powerful ratonalization in place for appreciating a certain movement a Beethoven symphony, but then, what makes Beethoven so well liked at all? Certainly had I not been exposed to classical music at all, the whole matter would be entirely moot.
The is only one way out of what appears to be the conclusion that there are no standards and anything is just as good as anything else as long as it is appreciated by some person. this would be a standard that is not objective in any descriptive way; it would be a standard grounded in aesthetics only. I cannot "convince" you that the Beethoven is great by describing the balance,the lyrical qualities, or any other descriptive features. There may be greatness in these, but in and of themselves, they are aesthetically irrelevant and do not make for an argument for superior music. Indeed, I cannot convince a person at all, if conviction lies with explanation removed from appreciation. But I can take what I recall to be Mill's take on this kind of thing: The judgment of one over the other can only be made by one who is appreciative of both. If I know and appreciate some popular idiom and I also appreciate classical, I am thereby qualified to judge one being better than another purely on the aesthetic merit, for both are accessible to me.
It is a difficult and highly debatable issue, but I think it right, and I use this to make judgments about art all the time, though cases have to be reviewed individually. But then, I do think Beethoven's ninth symphony, that movement right after the famous scherzo, is far superior to a great number of other pieces I can thing of, and I base this exclusively on the beauty of the music.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by HelioCentric » October 3rd, 2018, 7:28 pm

I don't believe art is a "purely personal" matter, nor do I believe the canard that "art is all subjective"; the same applies to the claim that "art is wholly objective." Inter-subjectivity may be a more accurate word for what occurs when several people experience a work of art, e.g. when an audience watches a Michael Bay film, the movie itself does not change depending on the people watching it, but depending on who each individual in the audience is, all sorts of receptions happen (more or less) independently from each other. A college student in their early twenties will not have the same reaction to Transformers that a seventy-nine year old senior citizen will have. However, just because different people bring different experiences to the same thing, that doesn't mean the aforementioned "thing" (the work of art in question) changes, or can't be held to some kind of objective standard.

What that "standard" is depends on the work of art, and many contexts must be brought to bear in order to come to some conclusion, really. Standards, yes, and those must be hashed out case by case. Rules, not so much, but they can work as a model. There isn't a catch-all answer, here, since any rule you propose in the arts might be easily broken in some radical, innovative way by an artist. So how do you divide good art from bad art? By experiencing the art, making your analyses, and putting them forth in public to be argued for/against, dismissed, archived, etc.

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by LuckyR » October 4th, 2018, 2:39 am

HelioCentric wrote:
October 3rd, 2018, 7:28 pm
I don't believe art is a "purely personal" matter, nor do I believe the canard that "art is all subjective"; the same applies to the claim that "art is wholly objective." Inter-subjectivity may be a more accurate word for what occurs when several people experience a work of art, e.g. when an audience watches a Michael Bay film, the movie itself does not change depending on the people watching it, but depending on who each individual in the audience is, all sorts of receptions happen (more or less) independently from each other. A college student in their early twenties will not have the same reaction to Transformers that a seventy-nine year old senior citizen will have. However, just because different people bring different experiences to the same thing, that doesn't mean the aforementioned "thing" (the work of art in question) changes, or can't be held to some kind of objective standard.

What that "standard" is depends on the work of art, and many contexts must be brought to bear in order to come to some conclusion, really. Standards, yes, and those must be hashed out case by case. Rules, not so much, but they can work as a model. There isn't a catch-all answer, here, since any rule you propose in the arts might be easily broken in some radical, innovative way by an artist. So how do you divide good art from bad art? By experiencing the art, making your analyses, and putting them forth in public to be argued for/against, dismissed, archived, etc.
Your second paragraph does a pretty good job of countering your first.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 4th, 2018, 6:08 am

Hereandnow wrote:
August 9th, 2018, 10:43 pm
A worthy question: for is there is nothing to the proposition that one is better than another in any possible judgment, then art criticism would be denied any validity beyond the arbitrariness of "taste".
Suppose instead of asking what justifies the evaluation of an artwork as merely "good", we look at what validates the judgement of a work of art as "great", then perhaps wew can work backwards ?

Poetry is the form of art I value the most, and Percy Shelley is my favourite poet. so I will use him to illustrate the two basic points I wish to make about taste.

For at least the past 80 years, there has been - for all reasonable intents and purposes a universal consensus of opinion among all of the West's foremost, mainstream literary authorities, that Shelley is rightly regarded to have been one of the greatest lyric poets in the English language.

I think it's interesting to look at what Shelley - himself a great artist - had to say about the question of aesthetic judgement ( taste) in poetry. Briefly, he felt- to put it In his own words - that...

"The jury which sits in judgement upon a poet must be composed of his peers; it must be empanelled by time from the selectest of the wise of many generations"


So it seems Shelley would say that a poet can only be confirmed as a legitimate or bone fide great master of his art, when, after many years, a broad, consistent agreement emerges in the opinion of those who have already been validated as great poets themselves and those who are accepted as foremost, expert authorities ( e.g. renowned literary critics/academic etc) in the field of belles lettres, that such a status is justified

I think this is right; no matter what the particular form of art happens to be : painting, sculpture, music, etc; a particular artist or artwork can only earn the distinction of being truly "great" if, after "many generations" ( at the very least) there is a clear and unequivocal agreement that this is the case both in the opinion of other past/present greats in the field, and in the view of those professionals working in the in the field who are held to be, (or to have been) genuinely expert critical authorities.

As to what justifies the judgement that a particular work of art is "good" as opposed to "great", I would first need to be clear that my definition of "a work of art" is restricted as follows...i.e; to being a natural or man-made phenomenon that is conspicuous for its possessing genuine beauty or "sublimity" ( as the term, "sublime" was understood in 18th century aesthetics).

So, to conclude. I think a piece of art can be justly rated as "good" when the overwhelming majority of rational, well-educated (Western) adults who have examined it, - again over a considerable period of time, say, 3 to 4 centuries, for instance-, state that in their considered opinion, the objet d'art in question is either, pleasingly beautiful, or, delightfully/pleasantly sublime, but not astoundingly or remarkably so.



Regards

Dachshund

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Burning ghost » October 5th, 2018, 5:41 am

Even the most well educated and experienced artists will not agree about what the greatest works of art are. I think it was H&N who mentioned elsewhere about the ability to express and use terminology in such a way so as to explain what qualities of the art they are referring to. With more insight into critical approaches and communication there is at least a mapping out of the territory of “art” albeit vaguely and spattered with “here be dragons”.

I amsure we’ve all experienced something in childhood we thought to be extraordinary only to see it through more mature sight and find nothing of any serious depth or quality. The pursuit is then open to us if we wish to reclaim that childhood awe through new experience and exploration.

Note: I am always haunted by Wilde’s words when it somes to talk of art, critique and beauty. I think he summed it up well enough in regards to its “uselessness” (see preface to “Dorian Grey” rather than take that at face value.)
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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Burning ghost » October 5th, 2018, 5:42 am

Oscar Wilde:

The artist is the creator of beautiful things.
To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.
The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.
The highest, as the lowest, form of criticism is a mode of autobiography.
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.
The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.
The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.
No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved.
No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.
No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.
Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art.
Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art.
From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor’s craft is the type.
All art is at once surface and symbol.
Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.
When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.
We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
All art is quite useless.
AKA badgerjelly

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 6th, 2018, 12:06 am

BG,

I am a fan of Oscar Wilde as well. When he was asked what his profession was, he typically said that he was "an aesthete", and often stated that his main mission on Earth was : "to live my life as art" (!)

What I want to mention to you is that Oscar was very impressed with a French novel that was written during his lifetime called "A Rebours", by Joris-Karl Huysmans. When it was first published in the late 19th century it caused a great sensation across Europe; a famous art critic in Paris wrote in "Le Monde" that "A Rebour" was like a " giant fire - bomb" that "had suddenly fallen from the sky and exploded spectacularly in the very heart of the French literary fair-ground". There is one scene in the novel where the protagonist explores the "aesthetic properties" of a prostitute he has hired that scandalised the general public and caused great controversy in the world of letters when the book first appeared in 1884. By today's standards the content I am referring to is extremely mild indeed , but for the morally-obsessed readership, esp those in the middle classes of late Victorian England it was unspeakably porographic and immoral. I think that this is certainly one of the main reasons that Oscar Wilde publicly described "A Rebours" as "the breviary of French decadence". (Oscar actually refers to "A Rebour" in the "Picture of Dorian Gray" , BTW, but not by name, rather, as a certain notorious "yellow-backed (i.e. risque French paperback) novel" that Dorian had been reading).

I guess you could call "A Rebours" a detailed, "scientific" investigation in the field of aesthetics, though, as I say, it is a novel - ( a very readable and entertaining one too ! ) - and not a technical philosophical discourse in any sense. In "A Rebours", Huysmans provides an incredibly rich, extraordinary nuanced and remarkably fine-grained account of aesthetic objects/phenomena and their effects on the observer's perceptual consciousness. His prose is so masterful that when you are reading the exquisitely vivid accounts he provides of, say, beautiful gemstones or beautiful scents ( of fragrances/perfumes), for example, you actually seem to FEEL/experience the aesthetic perceptions generated by the beautiful phenomena he is describing for yourself. (I must emphasise, BTW, that "A Rebour" is an exercise in aesthetics that is not limited to merely the traditional aesthetic concepts of "the beautiful" and "the sublime"; a broad range of other heightened states of perceptual consciousness generated by the direct exposure to diverse "objets d'art" is also included)

In short, I think "A Rebours" would absolutely blow your mind, BG. Huysman's intimate depictions of beauty and other aesthetic qualities in this little novel make Oscar Wilde seem like an amateur. For someone like you who is obviously fascinated by the subject of art/aesthetics I can guarantee you that reading it will change your life. I first read "A Rebours" myself when I was 19, and have re-read it many times over the years since then. Whenever I re-read it, I find Huysman's descriptions of the aesthetic sensibility, and aesthetic experience as fresh and vital as they were when I first read the novel as a teenager. The prose remains so brilliant and vibrant that I am transported every time into a "magical", deeply enchanted realm.

You really MUST buy this little book ( you could purchase a copy on Amazon for 2 or 3 dollars) read it, and tell us what you think?

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 6th, 2018, 1:08 am

Burning ghost wrote:
October 5th, 2018, 5:41 am
Even the most well educated and experienced artists will not agree about what the greatest works of art are.

I think that you would experience great difficulty trying to find a reputable, professional literary critic who did not agree that Oscar Wilde was a great artist; that he was one of the most brilliant masters of "belles lettres".

Likewise you would be hard pressed to find any mainstream authority or professional expert in the fine arts, over the past 600 or so years, who did not believe that Michelangelo's statue of David in Florence was not a magnificent work of art.

People will still be reading Oscar Wilde's novels and staging performances of his plays 500 years from now - still finding them to be great works of art.

As for a lot of what the contemporary art world rate as being great or important pieces of art, I'm afraid I am utterly lost for words. I read somewhere recently that a large preserved shark in a glass tank full of clear liquid preservative was exhibited as work of art by Damien Hirst in London and that it sold at a prestigious art auction for several million dollars. Prior to this, a number of contemporary art critics had judged Damien Hirst's shark to be the creation of an artist genius ! What a sick joke. I mean do you seriously think that placing a large, pickled shark in a glass tank represents great art? Do you sincerely think that in 300 years time people will be travelling to a museum of art in London or New York or Rome to admire the brilliant aesthetic qualities of Hirst's "dead shark in a tank". Another of Hirst's "art works", a large glass case full of flies and maggots feeding on the head of a dead cow , entitled "A Thousand Years",was placed on exhibition and purchased by Charles Saatchi ( the wealthy Jewish businessman) for over 10 million Pounds (!)

Could someone please explain to me why Hirst's "art works" ( ALL of which are ridiculous garbage, IMO) and equally talentless trash produced by celebrated modern "artists" like Gabriel Orozco , are regarded by contemporary art critics as having such tremendous aesthetic value ?



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Dachshund

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 6th, 2018, 3:13 am

Actually, I think I will try my hand as a contemporary conceptual artist... I will collect one of my pet Dachshund's larger poos from the garden and then mount it on an elegant, little marble plinth. Then I will have a reputable London art critic write a column in "The Times" newspaper's art review declaring that I am a great, unknown genius. After this, I will inevitably be invited to exhibit my latest artwork, (which I will call " The Eternal Poo Transcendent"- or something equally pretentious and quasi- profound), in some trendy, modern art gallery in London's West End. When a member of the Royal Family, the Peerage or Britain's super-rich elite dispatch an agent to enquire as to the asking price of the piece, I will tell him/her that I could not possibly consider any offer below 20 million Pounds. When the piece is finally sold, I split the cash 60:40 with my partner ( i.e. the posh art critic who wrote the review in "The Times" announcing me as a newly discovered genius) and promptly book myself a 5 - star holiday on a yacht in the Med. When I return from vacation, I announce to the London art world that I have just completed my next artistic masterpiece: "Fart in a Plastic Coke Bottle", and it is scheduled to be placed on exhibition at the TATE Modern next summer (!)


Regards

Dachshund

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Greta » October 6th, 2018, 3:32 am

Dachs, your creative use of quotes is an inspiration!

Thanks BG. I love this from Wilde:
The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass.
The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.
Those two lines could be explored for a long time. Suffice to say that Caliban had a self image problem being, as he was, monstrous. It aligns with humanity's confused and ambivalent self image problem as evidenced by the various doctrines that us to be either 'fallen' or 'divine', or both.

This is because humanity is too large and varied to judged as a whole, the diversity is too great for a single description that is not pointlessly prosaic. That diversity extends to taste. How can one claim an artwork to be invalid if it inspires, amuses and provokes?

The mainstream has always been outraged at dada's provocations, and that outrage is dada's lifeblood. Take away the outrage and the pickled shark becomes a mere curio and a potentially scientifically valuable specimen, one that brings people safely, but unusually close in a unique way, to one of their primal fears.

Recontextualising for effect is a favourite device. Consider Ron Mueck's hyper lifelike sculptures. The very large ones, despite being simply faithful reproductions as if he was trying to make 3D photos, create a surreal and interesting innate response in observers, especially the huge works.

Now, Mr D. Hund, if you collected your dog's poops for a decade, preferably for its entire lifetime (and preserved the poop to avoid the ick factor*), mounted the enormous turd mass upon a marble plinth in a stylish or primal configuration, and perhaps titled it 'Processed Energy' then THAT might make a, um, splash. Your plan is just a mean little political stunt, and thus lacks the grandiose beauty of a lifetime's poop, alas.


* Note that the pickles shark needs to be perfectly preserved or the stink would drive patrons away. Ditto your dog poop sculpture. That's the science within the art :)

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 6th, 2018, 4:39 am

Dog poo is NOT beautiful, Greta - especially not large ("grandiose") amounts of it! Dog poo/s , like pickled sharks (or any other chemically preserved dead animals) or are simply not legitimate "Objets D'art". Nor does installing a porcelain urinal in a mainstream art gallery( like Ms DuChamp did, for example) confer, IMO, any "whiff" of genuine artistic worth to that object, or validate DuChamp as some kind of "cutting-edge" creative genius. In short, these kind of disgusting, repellent and extremely distasteful things do not possess a single atom of aesthetic value; not, at least, in the original sense of the term, "aesthetics", which was coined in the 18th century to refer to the study of artistic concepts like "beauty" and "the sublime".

Regards

Dachshund

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Re: good art and bad art?

Post by Dachshund » October 6th, 2018, 4:45 am

NB Greta:

Dada, I think, is best understood as being essentially a political phenomenon of its time as opposed to being a bone fide movement in art.

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