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Is There An Art To Judging Good Art?

Aug 17, 2007
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is that where art is too? According to my husband, art doesn't have to be defined - just appreciated. He should know. He majored in art history in college. Opposites attract.

I don't know representational art from abstract art. When we're in museums, I'm the Little Engine That Could. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can appreciate this art.

I know what I like when I see it. I stop, look and listen to my husband expound on the history of the artist.

A lot of art falls into the category of nice-to-visit-but-I-wouldn't-want-to-live-with-it. I like to know what something is meant to be so I can judge how good it is. How do I know a canvas painted white is good? When an artist puts splashes and splotches of paint on a canvas, how does he know when he's done?

My favorite paintings are landscapes. If there are people in the landscapes, I want their faces to be indistinct. This lets me put myself into the painting. With modern art I'd have to be a contortionist to do that.

I know graffiti is illegal art, my grandmother's watercolors are undiscovered art and the art on my refrigerator is undeveloped art. I suppose that's more than some people know.

When my husband and I moved from Virginia to New Jersey, he carried a plastic-covered, ficus tree into our hotel room so it wouldn't freeze in the winter cold. As an older couple walked by, I heard the woman whisper, "I'll never understand modern art".

Having seen art composed of baby food jars, stacked newspapers and string rolled into a giant ball, I have one rule. If I could do it, it's not art.

Recently my husband and I went to a museum-sponsored Q&A. One of the museum's curators discussed the art with the artist. This was followed by questions from the audience. For my husband's sake I didn't ask my question - "Does your mother ask when you're going to paint something happy?"

We also went to David Hockney's latest show. Instead of the insightful portraits I love, his new work is paintings of trees - large paintings of trees.

Who am I to question the work of a successful artist? However, the dictionary defines art as human creativity. Therefore, I'm an artist too. As a mother, I'm a human sculptor.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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