Educated Public & Uneducated Critics – Divergent Opinions on Art

Part 3 of Opinion, Value & Taste series

We also frequently witness a significant divergence between mass appeal and informed opinion. The latter cares very much about the aesthetic and very little about the quality of the experience. There is a great deal of intellectual arrogance among the cognoscenti that fails to recognise the simple pleasures the majority may elicit from a work of art. Is my opinion more valid, by dint of my presumed interest and knowledge, than that of a very casual browser? No, of course not.

Indeed, I may suffer through my preconceived notions in a way my counterpart will not. In satisfying my intellect, I may sacrifice that immediacy. It can be very rewarding and instructive to stand alongside an individual who, in reaching out to an attractive but perhaps unorthodox image, displays a sort of clumsy affection, all fingers and thumbs, as he tries to articulate its impact upon him.

The innovation of the audio guide has certainly introduced a different dimension. I have been a very occasional user myself but the flaw to this approach, in my opinion, is that it is very much akin to wandering around a foreign city with a translator in tow. There is, somewhat perversely, a pleasure in making one’s own mistakes rather than pursuing the mistakes of others. I prefer to enlighten myself on my own terms, for better or for worse. Further, it is intriguing to consider the responsiveness to work in a particular building. Are people more reverential in a grand and imposing space and less so in a sleeker and more modernist environment?

It is always interesting to place a group of Renaissance paintings in a very contemporary building and avant garde work within a historic one and judge the reaction of the audience. A proper appreciation of a work of art often reflects how comfortably individuals could imagine living with it, if in their own home, but also the level of appropriateness of its immediate surroundings. Let us now move beyond some of the more abstract themes and look at three specific examples of modern artistic sensibilities in the context of intrinsic quality, display and cultural significance.

For those interested, the article source.

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