Is There Such a Thing as Bad Art?

1 January 2017

Perhaps bad art closes oneself to it. One sees something one doesn’t like, and without giving it a further thought one turns away. Or when one does give it a further thought, one thinks only about how the piece of art was, but not about oneself in relation to it. But is having no response a response within itself. Perchance the judging of art cannot be decided by responses. But rather if one cannot speak negatively of an artistic statement, instead one can only speak of one’s inability to find artistic merit.

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And therefore, to speak negatively of art is really to speak negatively of one’s own lack of imagination or emotional responsiveness. Or maybe one simply does not understand what the function of art is. However, maybe good art IS only good when it provokes a response. And when one looks back at ones response it is only significant if one notices a change in oneself. Still, these feelings may or may not exist when viewing a piece of art. And if those feelings do not exist it is not because the art is universally bad or good.

Instead it is because the piece is bad or good to you. Conceivably art’s sole reason for existence is to provoke emotion. But then what type of emotion? One may see a gory painting that makes one revolt, but is that good art? Is a piece of art only good because it is popular or trendy? And if so then does bad art become good art when it is decided popular. Perhaps a painting is considered good measuring by how much money it costs. Or maybe it can only be considered good by the qualifications of the artist who made it.

If so, would a finger painting by a kindergartener automatically be considered bad art while a blank canvas by a distinguished artist be genius? That is if in fact a finger painting can be determined as art at all. What even is art? Is it only considered art if it is on a canvas? Or can art be on the walls of a building in graffiti form? Is doodling in your notebook when bored in Philosophy class art? Or are all these creative forms of expression meaningless because they do not have to professionalism of an art gallery?

I can say in confidence that I take a reformed socialist view on this. There’s no such thing as bad art but in return there is no great art either. Everything is subjective. There are billions of people living in different worlds, bad only exists to the person and groups of like people. But to be fair so does good. Perhaps instead of questioning, we should simply just let art be. Acceptance that without yin there would be no yang and without bad there would be no good.

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