On The Appreciation Of The Beautiful
What makes art real art? I ask this within the context of our time, my generation as I do not feel like repeating the words of dead sages — words that are not mine. Should I do so, it will only be for guidance and the further edification of my answer. It seems that nowadays all ideas out there concerning what is or what is not art revolve around a power struggle to endorse one’s own, via using highfalutin, over-the-top arguments (courtesy of the media) with the intention of brainwashing the masses into a kind of mindset to justify their mediocrity.
I need not make an extensive research in order to prove this, all is required is to take a look everywhere. Even the casual observer with a superficial interest in this question would be able to see it: the words “critically-acclaimed”, “highest-selling”, “most popular”, among others all ring a bell. All of these mentioned refers to a specific form of “art”. It hides under the veil of subjectivity, but if we look deep enough and have a profound understanding of such things we shall find out that what is in store as end is the monetary gain resulting in the triumph of one person’s idea over another.
It sickens me to think that an average person, despite having the potential to appreciate real art without bias (meaning all the elements consisting the reason as to why that person should like an art is embedded in him alone, without influence) is swayed to believe that he must think of something as an art because of certain “limits” imposed on his judgment. Such limits as: in the major arts, it is most often taught that our expression will come through when we are in sync with the material we are using, that if we “live art” then art would live through us; in art history we are taught that if we would want to become “great artists” we should ignore (purely disinterested; art for art’s sake) the world around us as we work, and yet pretending as if we need not be concerned or be attentive to the world in order to have inspiration for our art. If art should have a purpose, that is, used as medium to express oneself, how is it then that we must resort to dogmatic means in order to define what an “art” truly is?
I do not claim to have an answer to this question, but I have come to opine that that which makes art real or not is a matter of personal choice; that we are capable to have our own perspective of what makes a thing great without any reference to its original context. The thing is, it was I who came to that conclusion, and not someone else for me. What I mean is, I would not allow it to have someone else control me over what I should like or dislike.
What I decided to enjoy and surround myself with is that which for me is the high art, and I am aware that what is good to my eyes may not be good to yours and vice-versa. Fact is, I’m contented that I don’t have to impose that what I regard as a masterpiece should be regarded as such by everyone. The simple pleasure I get out of it all is the idea that I know that other people have a completely different schema than I do, and the same goes for every person all over the world.
The problem nowadays, that is, among the many reasons why I think that the meaning of art is lost for the majority is that art has become more of a business rather than a recreation of luxury. (This leads us to the idea that even sitting around discussing philosophy is a luxury since we do not have to work all day to survive) Further, another reason is that the masses are all so far dispersed that it is no wonder why it’s hard to appeal to all of them. That to search for one medium that is able to reach out and touch the majority of persons in this world in meaningful ways is one hell of a stretch.
The final reason for me is that the continual reproduction of immature minds in today’s educational institutions is starting to affect the cycle of our daily lives. In concise words, we are more often than not, being taught only the idea of “what” to live instead of this being integrated with “how” to live. I think the detachment has finally reached the point where it is becoming readily apparent to the masses instead of just highly observant persons.
And to the notion that there is a so-called “High Art” which is exclusively for civilized people or a product thereof — to this I disagree. The people who ran the USSR held and promoted music from high-caliber composers, as well as the art of ballet. Even if one is not well-acquainted with history it is notorious what these men did, which could be summed up in one word: Communism. Now I ask, is that the mark of a civilized person? It sounds pretty barbaric to me. Consequently it follows that the question concerning whether art is subjective or objective is next to be tackled from this as to avoid stereotyping that a certain kind of art is reserved only for particular types of people.
Albeit I insisted above that what makes a work a piece of art is answerable to individual tastes, there is still a reason as to why art may be considered objective, and this could be attributed to culture. But again this is not enough to establish in a person a definite parameter as to what he must consider an art. Rather, the veneration he might hold for something is more of a form of respect. We may respect something but not necessarily like it, it must be remembered.
Finally, I conclude that Art may be found everywhere: from the sweet laughter of a child, the flutter of a butterfly’s wings; and in the dew drops found in the morning. Everything Good is a form of art because it is the opposite of privation (nothingness, therefore evil) and art exalts in the beauty of what there is rather than what there isn’t. It is art as created by the hands of God and art to be appreciated by the godly.