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View Poll Results: Can we judge/grade art?

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  • Yes, I think there are objective principles we can use to evaluate art

    6 21.43%
  • No, the value of art is subjective and determined by the individual viewer

    6 21.43%
  • It's a combination.

    14 50.00%
  • I have some strong objections thread's premise/wording and I am going to write a long post about it.

    2 7.14%
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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duck_of_Death View Post
    Subjective. Personal expression has no boundaries.
    Objective "standards" are antithetical to the very essence of such.

    Great art generally challenges personal interpretation, in my opinion.
    It is designed to reveal more about the audience than the work itself.
    By that definition, do you think psychology/biology non-fiction books are perhaps the "greatest" form of art?

    I agree that it's all purely subjective. It comes down to arguments like this:

    PERSON ONE: I really love The Tempest, by William Shakespeare. It's just so imaginative and the characters are amazing.

    PERSON TWO: Nah, I prefer Eclipse, the third book of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga. I mean, it has vampires!

    PERSON ONE: But The Tempest has got wizards - and magic too!

    PERSON TWO: I prefer vampires...


    The fact that their emotional opinions basically mean the same thing ("I like this, but not this") means they cancel each other out. It's impossible to say which is REALLY better: "The Tempest" or "Eclipse".

  2. #42
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    There are different important levels of aesthetics and meaning by which to judge a work of art.

    There are mathematical principles that underly expression that can also be seen in the natural world. These deal with issues of proportion, balance, pattern, symmetry, etc. The presence or absence of these can be addressed, whether or not a value statement accompanies these.

    There is always a cultural and philosophical context in which a creative work has been generated. These include all the unconscious assumptions of value and meaning within a specific cultural and historical context. How a specific creative work relates to these can also be addressed.

    Then there is also a personal, subjective response, which can also be interesting. This level can reveal a great deal about the individual cognitive processing of both the viewer and the creator of a work.

    Even if a specific culture has dismissed placing value on meaning, aesthetics, proportion, etc., it should still be addressed that those assumptions are beholden to one context and are not universal by nature. It is still possible to analyze a work of art and how it relates to these different hierarchies of context, even if no final value judgment is placed on it. There isn't a reason that the individual level would be objectively more universal than any other level. Also, more levels of analysis could certainly be introduced, and I just used those three because they are especially obvious.

    Edit: One of the greatest difficulties the post-modern world has faced is dealing with multiple systems of thought which are fundamentally in conflict. When first introduced with different philosophical systems of aesthetics, there is a dismissal of universal standards because our contextual standards have been shown to not be objective. The response is to dismiss universal standards altogether and look only to the individual level. I suspect this is just a first stage of integrating these larger systems of thought. We see in the creative world the beginnings of integration of systems, although many instances approach this on a superficial level of novelty. There is a way to integrate on a deeper level by extracting principles instead of "rules" which are applications of principles within a specific context. Once we become more skilled at understanding the more abstract underlying principles of different systems of aesthetics, we can work towards integrating these ideas at their core. At that point our thinking will not be so polarized as to value only the completely subjective individual responses, and to hope only for some sort of purely objective form of evaluation. Context is meaningful on larger scales and creative works need to be evaluated on each level so that we understand not only our individual selves, but also how we integrate our thinking as human beings within a specific culture and within a blending of cultural ideals.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    There are different important levels of aesthetics and meaning by which to judge a work of art.

    There are mathematical principles that underly expression that can also be seen in the natural world. These deal with issues of proportion, balance, pattern, symmetry, etc. The presence or absence of these can be addressed, whether or not a value statement accompanies these.

    There is always a cultural and philosophical context in which a creative work has been generated. These include all the unconscious assumptions of value and meaning within a specific cultural and historical context. How a specific creative work relates to these can also be addressed.

    Then there is also a personal, subjective response, which can also be interesting. This level can reveal a great deal about the individual cognitive processing of both the viewer and the creator of a work.

    Even if a specific culture has dismissed placing value on meaning, aesthetics, proportion, etc., it should still be addressed that those assumptions are beholden to one context and are not universal by nature. It is still possible to analyze a work of art and how it relates to these different hierarchies of context, even if no final value judgment is placed on it. There isn't a reason that the individual level would be objectively more universal than any other level. Also, more levels of analysis could certainly be introduced, and I just used those three because they are especially obvious.

    Edit: One of the greatest difficulties the post-modern world has faced is dealing with multiple systems of thought which are fundamentally in conflict. When first introduced with different philosophical systems of aesthetics, there is a dismissal of universal standards because our contextual standards have been shown to not be objective. The response is to dismiss universal standards altogether and look only to the individual level. I suspect this is just a first stage of integrating these larger systems of thought. We see in the creative world the beginnings of integration of systems, although many instances approach this on a superficial level of novelty. There is a way to integrate on a deeper level by extracting principles instead of "rules" which are applications of principles within a specific context. Once we become more skilled at understanding the more abstract underlying principles of different systems of aesthetics, we can work towards integrating these ideas at their core. At that point our thinking will not be so polarized as to value only the completely subjective individual responses, and to hope only for some sort of purely objective form of evaluation. Context is meaningful on larger scales and creative works need to be evaluated on each level so that we understand not only our individual selves, but also how we integrate our thinking as human beings within a specific culture and within a blending of cultural ideals.
    I liked your post, and completely agree that there are many different ways of analysing art. But I don't think that's the question the OP was asking. They said: "Judging means evaluating a piece of art as either good/bad or evaluating it in comparison to other works of art as better or worse." By that definition, you seem to agree that there aren't any real ways to judge the Worth/Goodness of a work of art? But you can certainly compare artworks by different criteria, such as symmetry and use of colour, philosophical perspective etc.

  4. #44
    Senior Member Pseudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duck_of_Death View Post
    Subjective. Personal expression has no boundaries.
    Objective "standards" are antithetical to the very essence of such.

    Great art generally challenges personal interpretation, in my opinion.
    It is designed to reveal more about the audience than the work itself.

    Doesn't your reference to "great art" imply some judgement, and the idea that art does a certain thing sets up an standard by which to judge it (how successfully it does x).

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by En Gallop View Post
    By that definition, do you think psychology/biology non-fiction books are perhaps the "greatest" form of art?

    I agree that it's all purely subjective. It comes down to arguments like this:

    PERSON ONE: I really love The Tempest, by William Shakespeare. It's just so imaginative and the characters are amazing.

    PERSON TWO: Nah, I prefer Eclipse, the third book of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga. I mean, it has vampires!

    PERSON ONE: But The Tempest has got wizards - and magic too!

    PERSON TWO: I prefer vampires...


    The fact that their emotional opinions basically mean the same thing ("I like this, but not this") means they cancel each other out. It's impossible to say which is REALLY better: "The Tempest" or "Eclipse".
    A good point. But generally a true critique will go beyond (and even avoid) referring to personal preferences. For instance instead of saying "I like the colors in this picture" you might say this work uses color in a way that creates harmony rather than discomfort, how does that relate to the subject matter and compositin ----> what affect does that have on the viewer.

  6. #46
    Twerking & Lurking ayoitsStepho's Avatar
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    I think the only judging factor in art is the technical part. As an art student, I'm taught about composition, depth, how well you reveal your intentions, being intentional about your work and being able to do it well enough that a common passerby could get at least a basic idea of what is going on or at least be able to think about it enough to find connections and symbols. After that everything else is just a persons preference. I love abstract realism! I also can appreciate other types of styles but if they don't have the technicalities down then one can lose what they're trying to attain. Of course, this is only really aimed at the professional artist. A child could create art and not have any of the technicalities involved and it can be amazing. I think, for the most part, it's all about preference.
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  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    Doesn't your reference to "great art" imply some judgement, and the idea that art does a certain thing sets up an standard by which to judge it (how successfully it does x).
    My point was that "art" is designed to evoke analysis.
    If it does not, it cannot be truly designated as such.

    My personal opinion.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    A good point. But generally a true critique will go beyond (and even avoid) referring to personal preferences. For instance instead of saying "I like the colors in this picture" you might say this work uses color in a way that creates harmony rather than discomfort, how does that relate to the subject matter and compositin ----> what affect does that have on the viewer.
    I agree, you can analyse how harmonic or chaotic a work of art is, and things like that. But that's not what we're asking (or at least not what was written in the OP). "Judging means evaluating a piece of art as either good/bad or evaluating it in comparison to other works of art as better or worse." What makes a harmonic painting "good"? Where's the link between harmony and quality?

    If you change to "Can we compare how much harmony is in an artwork compared to other artworks?" then yes, I agree with you.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by En Gallop View Post
    I agree, you can analyse how harmonic or chaotic a work of art is, and things like that. But that's not what we're asking (or at least not what was written in the OP). "Judging means evaluating a piece of art as either good/bad or evaluating it in comparison to other works of art as better or worse." What makes a harmonic painting "good"? Where's the link between harmony and quality?

    If you change to "Can we compare how much harmony is in an artwork compared to other artworks?" then yes, I agree with you.


    I don't think those things would be how you would judge the work. They are ways to analysis e how effective the work is at communicating something. Harmony, disharmony anything

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseudo View Post
    I don't think those things would be how you would judge the work. They are ways to analysis e how effective the work is at communicating something. Harmony, disharmony anything
    Analysing is not Judging. It's just thinking about stuff.

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