I’ve been thinking about two questions for a while: What makes art, art and is there such a thing as bad art? I thought of these questions while researching various artists. Think of Picasso, Van Gogh, and many other modern artists whose work can be a mind-boggling. How do you know if you’ve run into bad art or if you simple are not in the right state of mind to view it.
the first question to ask is; what is considered art? I mentioned fashion because, I consider fashion designers to be artists. A fashion designer creates sketches of outfits, and then picks out the colors, shapes, and textures for each outfit. They also create runway shows which consist of models, stage pieces, and music. It is true that most people cannot wear the designs however, you can’t possible walk into an art gallery expecting the art to be functional and for everyday use. What then is the difference between an artist who paints a landscape to a fashion designer that creates artistic clothing? Could it be our distrust of the fashion industry is what colors our perception of the art.
You have probably heard of urinals being hung in Tate Modern and being displayed as art. I used to clean for a living, so, to be honest, seeing a urinal on the wall only reminds me how much I hated cleaning those things. I know that the artist is trying to make a statement, but my friend (who happens to be an artist) felt that if all you do is hang a urinal on the wall or paint a thick dark line on a sheet of paper, it’s just not art. So maybe the answer to “What makes art, art?” is the work that is put into the creation and the process of creating it.
What makes something bad art is a little harder to pin down. I always think that if you walk into an art gallery not expecting to move out of your comfort zone, you’re in the wrong place. Art is supposed to tug at your feelings and maybe even make you a little uncomfortable. Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hirst are two artists that come to mind whose art can be, well, different.
Damien Hirst is known for placing whole animals (dead) into formaldehyde. It was called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. I have to admit that while I cannot look at the cow or sheep that he did, the shark was pretty cool. The pieces caused a ton of controversy and some people found them distasteful, including myself (I hate seeing dead animals). What he did was impressive, even though, it was slightly disturbing.
Yayoi Kusama is known for polka dots…lots of polka dots. Her work is plentiful and influential. One of her works that comes to mind is the Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees. She wrapped polka dots and added polka dot globes to the trees along a road in Singapore. Did the trees really need polka dots? Some people may find her work expressive while others may see too many polka dots. I can imagine though turning a corner one clear morning and seeing rows of polka dot colored trees, that would brighten up my day!
I still feel that I haven’t pin down a clear definition of what makes art, art or what makes something bad art. It could be the feelings that the work invokes can have influence on how we judge that particular piece. Also, considering what your moral beliefs are and how you are feeling at that certain time and place are the keys to how you judge the art your viewing. No matter what, never for a moment feel that you have to enjoy every piece of art you view but, do go out of your comfort zone. By going out of our comfort zones we learn something new about ourselves.
Written By: Kristy Trowbridge