Monday, April 20, 2009

The Art of Deciding What's Art

Art.  How do we judge it?  How do we critique a painting, a drawing?  And whose opinion matters most?  The art teacher?  The audience?  Or the artist himself/herself?

My daughter is an art minor.  She's struggling to come to terms with her art teacher who doesn't seem to like her drawings.  His feedback leaves her in the dark because he really doesn't offer much.  Just tells her to start over again.  She's very frustrated and I don't blame her.  One of the main reasons why I dropped the one art course I'd signed up for in college was because I'd had enough of drawing the same bottles and vases over and over again from ten different perspectives.  My daughter wants to draw people, specifically faces.  I did, too.  I guess this teacher doesn't find faces very interesting.  That's too bad.

So when you see a painting in an art gallery, what makes you like it?  What makes you dislike it?


  1. Your opening questions are great! I've never thought about those things, but I think what matters most is the artist's own opinion. If he/she isn't happy with what he/she has created, the audience won't feel it.

    It's a shame your daughter's teacher isn't encouraging her with more.

  2. I've often felt that way about art myself. Who decides what a painting is worth, and what gives them the right? What criteria puts one artist above another?

    When I was a teenager, I was on a class trip and we stopped at a small gallery. There was a painting in there that I found mesmerizing. To this day I can remember every detail about the painting, who it was by, and how much it cost.

    That, to me, is great art.