How do we measure what is good art?
Above you’ll see examples of my art: a watercolor, an acrylic landscape, an acrylic abstract, and a realistic oil portrait. No, I’m not asking you to vote on my artwork but to think about how we measure art.
Here is an interesting excerpt from a book I’m reading titled, The View From the Studio Door, by Ted Orland.
“In academia it’s considered a virtue to frame questions that yield clear, concise and demonstrably correct answers-answers that remain a constant no matter who responds to the question. But equally, there exists another entire universe of questions in which the answer changes as each new person engages the question. Questions that introduce value judgments and shades of meaning and degrees of certainty into the equation engage entire fields of human endeavor that fit poorly (if at all) within the prevailing educational framework. Like the arts, for instance. You can measure to a clear, concise and objective certainty the color of the sky above your head-but what is the color of the sky inside your mind? For Maxfield Parrish the correct answer was a cerulean blue; for Albert Ryder it was midnight black; for Beethoven is was F major. Making headway in the arts is a process of navigation without numbers. How do you measure what is Good? What happens when there are many correct answers to a given question? And what happens when some of those answers are profound, others superficial? Or when some are intellectually abstract, others searingly personal?
Those are not-pardon the pun-academic questions. If a roomful of students all arrived at the identical (and demonstrably correct) answer to a math question, it would be exemplary. But if those same students answered an artistic question by producing a roomful of identical paintings, something would be terribly wrong. Indeed, if the only things that counted were the things you could count, Haydn would clobber Beethoven 106-9 in the symphony playoffs, and the Museum of Modern Art would hang street banners declaring Whoever Paints the Biggest Picture Wins.”
Well, Mr. Orland said it well. Our opinion of any given artwork is subjective. My opinions, too.