Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Art and "Taste"?

What does it mean to have good taste, or bad taste?  What does "taste" have to do with art--good or bad?  I am confused.

When Bad Is Good | ARTnews

I do love a quote from Paddy Johnson in this article on Thomas Kinkade:  "most contemporary art is allowed to look like total garbage, so long as the concept is solid."



  1. Regarding Paddy Johnson's quote, I agree. It is a thought that often crosses my mind when viewing an exhibition and artwork. Ironically, I see a link between that quote and the criticism of some (or rather, most) of my own work. The link being that my work is often described as 'commercial', or better yet, 'too polished to be fine art'. Can artwork really be 'too pretty' to be considered art? Does there have to be an inherent kitsch-factor for anything to be taken seriously?

  2. I can agree to a degree with Kinkaid. I feel like a lot of times a persons explanation of an art piece can save it no matter how bad it looks to others. At the end of the day people like what they like. I think its hard to change what someone "believes" in. What is good taste really? It just seems like nowadays that the more out there the concept is or artwork is the more praise it gets. I don't think art can be 'too pretty'. I just feel like artists should do the work that works best for them at what they love to create. I'm not saying advice from teachers is ever bad, but you have to take what you can out of what people say. I think its easy to get bound down by what others think is good or bad to them. Art is always hard to argue to me though. lol

  3. Not only is most contemporary art "allowed to look like total garbage, so long as the concept is solid," but it is frequently comprised of or incorporates actual garbage. If "taste" truly mattered then we would not have had Santiago Sierra's 21 Anthropometric Modules made from Human Feces by the People of Sulabh International, India or Andres Serrano's Piss Christ (ick!) They certainly wouldn't fall into the category of "good taste" yet they are quite provocative, make people think about the world in which we live (also creating a dialogue among people) and are considered "good" art.

    I agree with Megan...why can't it be pretty? I like pretty AND I like provocative...even though my artistic skills are limited to Paint-by-Numbers (hey, I think I represent the masses!) Why does everything have to be controversial? In my opinion, "good" art makes you think or feel...regardless of what it's made out of, what it looks like and/or what other people think about it.

  4. The John Waters quote in the "ARTnews" article is also interesting… “I’m interested in artists who are okay with being hated… because the work we hate today is often the work we end up liking and admiring in the future.” Are there stages or cycles of artistic acceptance? It also reminds me of the Gandhi quote Dr. Tracy likes to use “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”.