Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What Makes Art Fine?

After 20 years of selling fine art I have come to the conclusion that I know far less now about what makes art "fine" than I did in 1988. The question of "what makes art fine" in my opinion is rather subjective. If you have the opportunity to speak to a fine art critic or others schooled in the art of critiquing art you will undoubtedly get another opinion. These options or critiques are so valuable in many academic circles that some weak minded individuals actually base their buying decisions primarily on the "educated" opinions on these supposed experts. To me this is like employing a PHD in music to decide what you should listen to or having a food critic decide where and what you should eat.
When I worked at the race track years ago, there where the so called "experts" at the gate entrance hawking their daily picks. "Bob's Winners Circle", and "Lucky Larry's Pick of the Day" were two of the favorites. As a cocktail waitress in the club house, I got to see firsthand the wins and losses of each race. Interestingly enough, I found that those betting who actually went down to the paddock and watched the ponies walk were able to pick the winners more often than "Lucky Larry" or "Winning Bob". The reason being is that it is easy enough to see when a race horse is injured or favoring a leg. Almost anyone with sight can see this.
Why is it when it comes to the visual arts people rely on the educated critics opinion?
Most modern art that I have seen in museums around the world makes me wonder who decided it was fine. The only thing I can agree on is the fact that art critics consider it priceless because I would not pay anything for most of what is considered "fine" art.
What a wonderful thing it is to see an artist's creation that is unusual or cutting edge however, all great art does not have to be profound in order to be "fine".
Personally, I feel that art can be "fine" to someone, anyone for any reason and there is not a requirement for the viewer to justify their like or dislike. Art, like music, is purely subjective and personal.
What makes art sell is a completely different subject.

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