How Do You Judge Art/Cinema/Music/Literature?

14May07

Disclaimer: I enjoy reading both Sartre and Superman.

How exactly does one critique somebody’s work? Do you base it on what a large sample section of the public felt (or is bound to feel) or do you look for an intrinsic artistic value?

When the Da Vinci Code came out, it was acclaimed beyond comprehension. The literati loved it; conspiracy and history…they thought it delivered on an intellectual level. However, over the months as the book went on to become a million dollar industry in itself, the very same critics who lavished praises on it distanced themselves from it. Why? Because believe it or not, there is a perception that if something becomes too popular or appeals to the public, it cannot be art. Apparently, not everybody understands art. Right.

So how do you judge art? Scott Adams, on his blog went on to say that you can judge art only by the standards it sets to achieve. That’s exactly how I feel.

You cannot compare an issue of Playboy with a piece by Umberto Eco. You simply cannot. They are both stimulating, albeit in different ways. Whereas one strives to fascinate the libidinous male populace, the other is intellectually stimulating.

Recently, Spiderman 3 has faced a lot of backlash for being over the top and cheesy. While I admit that it is true, I do not see it as a flaw. The director envisioned something out of the pages of a comic book so how can you blame something for intentionally being corny? There is an intrinsic entertainment value for stuff like that. So wait…can something artistic NOT be entertaining? Vice versa?

I’m confused.

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10 Responses to “How Do You Judge Art/Cinema/Music/Literature?”

  1. Hehe, the minute I read that title on the reader, I knew – Scott Adams has gotten to PS as well =D!

    So wait…can something artistic NOT be entertaining?

    To answer that – hell yeah! That’s because you just don’t wanna / don’t know how to see the same through the artist’s eye/mind/whichever creative pore [no pun unintentionally intended].

  2. @ Guru Dude…a copy of Dilbert Principle is somewhere around here? Yours?

    So…then art isn’t for everybody? Means you have to have a certain disposition for good taste? Who defines taste? What is good taste?

  3. I think this boils down again to ones expectation on the art he is going to see. One goes to spiderman 3 expecting all the action sequences (not that its not there in this installment) but then again it turns out to be emotional roller coaster ride.

    And then again nothing beats Playboys simplistic stimulation. No Juan cluade whoever it is can match that

  4. 4 Smaran

    Honestly, I was one of those who loved The Code when it first came out, and went on to read Brown’s other books. But when it turned into the icky, commercial, feature-film-fodder pile of goo that everybody—this includes people who cannot even read, or if they can, try very hard to act like they cannot—was talking about, it was only natural that I go bother myself with something else, like Eco’s “The Name of the Rose”.

  5. 5 Smaran

    Hah, I actually wrote that comment before reading your entire post and your reference to Eco.

    You might be confused, but I’m not. Most of the time, art isn’t entertaining, not for most people anyway. Art is…

  6. 6 amon

    Everything seems to be about comparision nowadays. yeah, an art can be judged by comparision but it seems to going to far. I feel an art can be judged fairly when it seen as itself, perhaps that would even make understand more meaning towards art.

  7. @ PS: Yup – that book is mine – treasure it :P!

    Hmm, I would have to think about that and get back to you – however off the cuff – if art _is_ for everybody – then wouldn’t it be just as mundane as public transportation [couldn’t come up with something better targeted @ EVERYBODY]?

    Means you have to have that certain taste – good/bad becomes subjective from then on =D!

  8. @Bently Right said mate..:-)
    @Smaran Fact is I used to ‘quote’ the book even when it came out but I became redundant once people started reading it…so I moved on. 🙂
    And yes, Name of The Rose is brilliant…one of my favs…
    @Amon Yeah that’s what the problem is. You cannot compare two works which have nothing in common.
    @Guru But who defines taste?

  9. @ PS: The creator of the art. He defines taste for what he/she created =D!

  10. 10 Bipin

    IMHO, the best judge would be TIME.
    Any creation of Human Beings has bound to have an impact of issues/people/politics/mentality/etc. of HIS TIME.
    However, if I somebody comes across it after several hundred years and is able to relate with it, feel the same compassion; then we might call it a piece of art.

    NoteToSelf:
    What crap! You mean Playboy is art too.

    We might also add that art might not really entertain me, but it would definitely touch me somewhere deep inside.


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