Art, yeah, but is it good or bad?
‘Darling, it’s simply wonderful, you must see it!’
‘Nah, it’s not for me, I’m afraid. Not really my cuppa tea, you know?’
‘But it’s simply the best new work this century, you must be mad not to appreciate such innovative individuality.’
‘I think it’s a load of poo, myself, Love.’
So who’s right? Person one or person two? One of them must be wrong, right? Or can they both be wrong? Or perhaps they can both be right? If one person thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread but somebody else quite obviously disagrees, then how do we resolve the issue? And do we have to try and resolve it? Should we even bother?
A colleague of mine once told me that categorically there is such a thing as good and bad art. My response was, how can it be good or bad, it’s art isn’t it? Isn’t it up to me to decide if I like it or not? He was a lot more knowledgeable on these matters so I just took his word for it at the time.
But are there such things as good and bad art? And if so, then who decides? Does popularity come into play here? Personally, I’m undecided. Ordinarily, I’m not normally one to sit on the fence, however, I’m glad there aren’t any splinters sticking out of this particular fence because I haven’t got any sandpaper on me and I could be here for some time!
If a photographer produces a bad picture then is it because he or she has taken it badly or is it because of the fact that the sitter has made it bad because of the way that he or she is sitting in it?
I think that popularity has an awful lot to do with it. Do the so called lesser artists, writers, musicians, actors etc. get a fair crack of the whip? Perhaps not. If they were popular, however, would they get more press? Well I think the answer to that question is yes, they would, but would that press be deserved? Maybe the more famous of artists have earned their press by being famous in the first place. They must have done something right along the way otherwise we wouldn’t recognise them, and they would probably be down with the other lot, striving to be noticed, right?
What makes a Caravaggio better or worse than a Rembrandt? And what makes either of them better than a child’s drawing of a house with smoke coming out of the chimney and an out of proportion family standing in front of it?
What makes ‘The Gymnopedies 1-3’ by Erik Satie played beautifully by a top pianist any better than ‘Roll out the Barrel’ played badly by Les Dawson using all the wrong notes? (Personally I think they are both genius but then that’s just me!) I don’t think there can be a correct answer.
I don’t know. If you put everything you possibly can into your art and somebody likes it then I suppose that’s all you can do isn’t it? Good or bad, it is art in my humble opinion. Perhaps I’m right, perhaps I’m wrong.
But the burning question which I can hear you all saying right now is, ‘What makes a good blog post? And is this a good one or a bad one? I suppose I’m going to need your opinion on that!
Mark Murphy, 7/10/14.