IIn the encompassing world of art, especially under art criticism, truly defining art is harder than it seems. One could say that art is simply creativity, which stems from one’s imagination and lets originality take over, while others would start to categorize said creativity whether it is pencil art of a third grade or fine art student who depicts the great mythology of muses and nature. Then, one can thus categorize if these childish representations of art are intentional, such as the art of Yoshitomo Naraor if such beautiful works of art can be considered good by its validity, such as the controversial Madonna of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci. So on, defining art then becomes too complicated.
Therefore, we should not just define art for what it is (although objectively there is good and bad art), but for what it conveys to its audience. After all, art is meant to be consumed by the senses, even by the artists themselves. The significance of an artwork can change dramatically or subtly, either with access to basic information about the artist and history, or over time with changing cultural norms and perspectives. . The independent variable defined in all perceived parts is not the type of reaction that occurred, but rather that a reaction occurred overall.
Somehow art will stimulate the senses, and that stimulation should then elicit a response. A tray with delicious smells that makes you salivate, a sensual and sincere song that makes you cry, or a horror movie that makes you jump; an emotional or physical reaction occurs, resulting in an “experience”. It is these amplified feelings that make us understand that we are in an artistic experience. Now, whether or not a work of art elicits a reaction is more subjective – just because you don’t react doesn’t mean others won’t. Anyway, in a world with such a large cross section of different and intersecting cultures, any form of art can provoke a reaction.
This now leads to the argument of the distinction between good art and bad art. As controversial as it may sound, there is bad art out there whether you deny it or not. It doesn’t have to depend on skill, technicality, perspective, opinion, or who the artist is, but regardless, how we subconsciously judge aesthetics ultimately plays a major role. There can be artists who can be considered morally good or admirable who unfortunately make bad art, and there can be artists who make attractive art that ends up being considered bad art by proxy. immorality of the artist – an excellent example is found in Thomas Kinkade.
The peculiarity of aesthetically bad art is that it remains art. He evokes the reaction.
The most striking example of bad art provoking a reaction is “Comedian”. by Maurizio Catellan, better known by its unofficial descriptive name, “banana stuck to the wall”. Everyone and their mothers were talking about how absurd, provocative and insulting this performance was to the art world. You could say it required no skill and had no emotional context, but the piece still sold for $120,000 and then was eaten by another performance artist. Of course, this sparked new controversies.
Parallel to this form of bad art, “good art” would be the occurrence of “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci.” First sold at auction in 1958 for just $60, it was later discovered to be an authentic Da Vinci piece, leading to it being auctioned off publicly and sold for a record $450 million, 7.5 million times its original price.
What “Comedian” and “Salvator Mundi” have in common is a deep audience reaction to what the play is, whether due to absurdity or authenticity. Another common feature is the use of pricing to add value to coins; whether it is worthy or not is up to you. It is as if art criticism had formed itself into two, or even more, “reactionary” dialects: human reaction and market value. One could look at Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” and have the human reaction of a simplistic, cubist painting that could be easily recreated, but then see that in market value it sold for $106.5 millionfurther adding to our reaction and prompting the thought, “Wow! Someone paid that much! – even sometimes incomprehensible – that it holds affects the way we look at it.
That being said, art will be judged for what it represents and for whom it appeases or does not appease. But if it is judged, it comes with a reaction. If it provoked a reaction, it is because it was felt. If it was felt, then it’s art.