I’ve talked before about how to judge art, but today I’m going to explain why I think it’s important that all of us DO judge the art we come across, and speak up with our opinions about it.
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Personally, I believe there are some works of art that are better than others. You probably feel the same way, even if we might not agree as to WHICH art is better. Art is, after all, very subjective.
And the beauty of a subjective system is that everyone’s opinions are important. But. . . how often do we make our opinions known?
In my experience, I see more people keeping quiet about art than speaking up. Whether they don’t want to offend others, or to show ignorance, or just don’t think it’s their place; I’m not sure.
I know there have been times in my life when I saw a work of art on display in a gallery, and I kept quiet. I went along with the crowd. I should have spoken up and said, “You know what, this DOESN’T make sense to me.” Or, “I DON’T feel what you all say you feel, and I’m not going to pretend that I do!”
It takes courage to be the odd one out, and I’ll admit I haven’t always been courageous.
But when you do speak up, you’ll learn so much more than if you just go with the flow. Whether you claim ignorance, like or dislike, or even disinterest in a work of art—it doesn’t really matter. Say what you think! Once you do, others will speak up too.
Some will disagree, and possibly explain why they DO feel a certain way. Others who might not have spoken up themselves, will take your side, grateful that someone voiced exactly what they were thinking.
The result is a discussion that broadens everyone’s experience, and makes art more than just a one-way feeding, from artist to viewer. Be open to changing your own mind, too.
And even if you’ve never thought you COULD have an opinion on art, because you’re young, or new to art—well, it’s not just true. Everyone can, and should, have an opinion.
So next time you get the chance, speak up! Be bold, be polite, and see what comes of it.
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