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Post #1431791

Parent topic
Objectivity in art
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Date created
24-May-2021, 2:42 PM

Here’s a question that I’ve been wondering for some time. How objective or subjective is the quality of art? I’m particularly thinking in terms of stories here, but if you want to bring in music or art - which I’m about to now anyway - that’s very welcome.

I have a friend who says that while personal enjoyment is subjective, the quality of art can be measured more objectively. I can buy into this a little bit. An experienced artist could paint a massive photorealistic oil painting with many different elements, and a young child could draw their family members in a really simple way and colour them with crayons, and they would both be art. Someone could say, “I prefer the child’s art because it’s really sweet and innocent, and is devoid of ulterior motives like the desire for fame and respect”. That would be totally fair, but it doesn’t change the fact that the oil painting took way more time and effort.

Similarly, a film could have a troubled production or have contrived or lazy writing decisions, but a person can still love it immensely. Despite this, it’s still important not to expect half-hearted or badly-executed projects from companies like Disney, so the number of people who like the finished project will be greater.

However, regarding the painting analogy - the oil painting took more time and effort, but how does that make it objectively better than the child’s art? This all depends on an individual’s standards. And once again, in the same way, a plot device can be measured as contrived or not depending on how coincidental or implausible it is - but if a person can still enjoy the story anyway, does it actually matter in an objective sense?