Friday, February 19, 2010
(THINKING ABOUT) THINKING ABOUT ART
We all have our personal tastes, but the fact is, taste doesn't determine quality. To me, when an artist makes art, they make a world. That world may not appeal to me, but that in itself shouldn't affect how I appreciate that world critically. In order to really appreciate art you need to be willing to confront it, work with it, and explore it, using your own mind. Your mind is the connection between you and the art.
When I look at art, I try to look at it on its own terms. Comparing only gets you so far, and oftentimes not very far at all. I try to understand the artist's intentions-- what they were trying to do-- and whether that attempt was successful or not (which is a subjective thing, as I'd say it's impossible to objectively define success). Even if it was "unsuccessful" in this way, a work can still be interesting, since art isn't necessarily about winning.
So when I look at art, I look at this world the artist has created. What I'm looking for is a kind of integrity-- do these pieces fit? Has the artist conveyed a sense of totality, where the art, whatever its form, feels complete, as it is, on its own terms? Is it whole? (Even art about fractured bits can be whole in this way.)
To me, that's what ultimately determines what I call quality. It's hard, because we're all humans, wired with our own personal tastes and inclinations, but if we too often stumble over our own taste, we can miss out on a lot that the world has to offer.