Have you ever strolled into an art gallery, feeling like you’re not quite in the know when it comes to art? Maybe you’re not fluent in art lingo, or perhaps you don’t consider yourself a ‘creative’ person. You’ve probably been in conversations about art that seemed overly complicated or exclusive because of this concept of an “art critic.” But here’s the thing: I believe anyone can have a say about art, and it’s vital that we embrace this idea to make our art discussions more diverse and engaging.
Art is deeply personal and, as a result, subjective. The way a painting or sculpture resonates with someone can depend on a multitude of factors, from personal experiences and biases to cultural background and aesthetic preferences. Take, for example, the famed fruit at Art Basel Miami Beach, ‘Comedian’ by Maurizio Cattelan. The piece consisted of a fresh banana duct taped to a wall. The gallerist exhibiting the work stated Comedian is “a symbol of global trade, a double entendre, as well as a classic device for humor” while others such as Artnet wrote the piece was one of the worst of the week, and that Cattelan “somehow duped a group of collectors into buying bananas duct-taped to walls for $120,000 a pop. Seriously.” So! You see, there’s no right or wrong interpretation, and it’s essential to understand that art criticism is just one way to look at art.
Moreover, art critics often use technical jargon that might leave most of us scratching our heads. But don’t let that discourage you. Enjoying art isn’t about dissecting it with academic precision. However, having a basic grasp of some art terminology can enhance conversations. For instance, understanding ‘Color’ used in abstract art might help you appreciate how color takes on a more independent role.
We all view art through our unique lenses of experience and perspective, and that’s what makes art discussions so fascinating.
Different viewpoints lead to richer conversations and more fun insights. Listening to a Chinese person’s interpretation of a Chinese painting, for instance, can provide a deeper understanding than merely hearing an outsider’s perspective. Encouraging diverse viewpoints and creating an inclusive space for sharing ideas is essential for meaningful dialogues. Think of it as trying on a funky new pair of dazzling glasses—you might see aspects of a familiar artwork that you’ve never noticed before.
So, now that we’ve established that everyone can be an art enthusiast & everyone’s opinion on art matters, how can you start enjoying it even if you feel like a novice?
One idea is to explore art beyond the traditional museum setting. It can be as simple as browsing art online, watching YouTube videos, attending local art fairs, or doing a PopUp Painting event. You can even find art in unexpected places, like street art in your community. Finally, don’t hesitate to engage in art conversations. Share your thoughts, listen to others, and embrace the diverse perspectives that come your way. Don’t let the notion of an “art critic” intimidate you. Your opinion is yours, and it’s something you can express whenever you encounter a piece of art or engage in literally anything else! Art is a personal and subjective experience, and there’s beauty in its various interpretations.
Remember that your opinion matters and your words have the power to inspire.