There has almost definitely one time or another been a time in our life where we have gotten in a heated argument about a song or a movie, by going in a stupid rabbit hole and coming out comparing said song or movie with another. But how can you even begin such arguments by comparing such subjectively perceived arts! Every song or sculpture or painting is different to every viewer. However, there is something that I believe that is universal. I believe that it is very easy to categorise something as good or bad. That’s what I would like to argue. …
As with everything in life we have to begin with the question: what’s the point!?
Most things in life have a purpose. It is thought to be an instinctual feeling; for things to have a purpose. Philosophy even ventures into the realm of finding Life itself a purpose. It’s only natural to question such things, otherwise what would be the alternative. If we didn’t feel that our individual and collective lives had no purpose then we would probably act very differently with regards to ourselves, our bodies and our organisation of society. It is this uncertain area of our thoughts that religion enters, but that is for another blog post.
So beginning from that perspective, such that even living and breathing should have a purpose, we can move on to the less important part of our lives: art. It can very easily be argued that art is useless. People’s lives would not lack that much in regards to functionality without it. I mean everything (yes EVERYTHING) would be bland, and not worthwhile, but lives would not be lost.
Before we go into the purpose of art, I would like to simplify its definition. Art: The manipulation of emotion through aural-visual creation(s). Yes it’s a crude definition but that doesn’t make it incorrect. Aren’t you ‘moved’ by a work of art when you see/hear it? Now I’m not going to talk about which disciplines or professions (looking at Architecture and interior design) are categorised as art, because I think that when you experience Art, you know it.
The other thing that needs to be argued before we go on to my main point is that every human being is not a blank slate. We are born with some programming. I would also like to argue that every sane human being inherently knows the difference between good and bad (ask anyone in the world whether killing some innocent person is ok or not). This is not regarding what is beautiful or ugly. This is good and bad.
Now, when we consider art, we have to ask the first question that we asked earlier: what’s the point? What is the purpose of that work of art? Can I argue that we can classify artwork between good and bad by whether or not it has the minutest possible way gone in the direction of fulfilling its purpose? What the exact purpose is, only the art creator knows, but defining it widely would be: evoking emotion through the perception of the artwork. Now, where artwork (in my opinion) gets subjective is how well the creator has reached his purpose. Because people perceive their world around them not identically, however they do perceive it very similarly. E.g. a loud ‘bang’ is what it is to everyone; however the softness of that note the second violin of that orchestra is playing may vary. Therefore if a song, book, movie or some other art form made you cry, and its intention was to make you cry, then you can argue that that creation fulfilled its purpose and it can be classified as good. Again, the subjective part in that creation would be to classify it on a sadness scale, and decide on how much it made you cry, and you know that not everyone has the same sadness scale, and not everyone cries at the same things. If that would have been the case, then we wouldn’t have been called humans, but robots.
Now on the other hand, e.g. an art installation where the ‘artist’ had filmed his hands counting grains of rice; can that be called good art? You would ‘feel’ nothing by experiencing that. Forget feeling anything, you can wonder what the hell was the artist thinking?! I believe that when these ‘artists’ create something, call it art, and see if it sticks, that can be classified as Bad art (e.g. Nicki Minaj songs).
Then we come to another argument. What can be considered art? Is it something art just because the creator says it is? If I take a shit on the street put my name on a plaque next to it, is that an art installation? What if I go the extra step and spray paint my shit with rainbow colours? How about then? This is the same argument with music that is manufactured to get the same reaction every time. It was bound to happen. All this time creating music, someone maybe inadvertently figured out the formula to what teenage girls like (e.g. Justin Bieber co.). How about Thierry Guetta? What I’m saying is, figuring out what sells, or making a lot of stuff, and hope that some of it sells is not in my opinion Art. Even if it is art, it’s not good art.
So, we can conclude that good artistic creations depend on the intention of its creator and the creation’s purpose. This means that if Nicki Minaj finally admits that she is making bad music as an artistic statement just to test it how far she can go, or Lady Gaga admitting that she is wearing (or not wearing) clothes just to see how far the public will accept it, and then we can consider their creations good art. At least they would be making a statement, evoking emotions, fulfilling their purpose. But as long as they (and others like them) claim to be avant-garde, and that they’re bringing something new to their respective artistic fields, then maybe they need to take a look at what they’re doing and realise that it’s shit. Just highly force-sold Shit.