Thursday, June 12, 2008

Prejudice in Art

Just how much are you influenced by suggestion, your parents, your teachers, your peers?

If you are told something is good or interesting then will you believe it? If it is on show in a museum - exhibition- will you automatically accept that it should demand your attention? Or are you the sort who hates everything on principle?

I dimly recall reading a translation of a Chinese writer of the 19c who had not seen a westerner before. His description of a western gentleman’s dress was delightful. Though accurate it saw a man in a conventional suit quite differently.

So when you next look at a work of art put away prejudice, taboo, learnt responses and other people’s opinions. Give up your ‘taste’ for a moment and look carefully with a fresh eye and clear mind. Do not forget logic and use your own experience to compare if you must. Look for its best points first and then if you can see no bad ones you are already lost!

How timeless is it and does that matter?

What was the artist’s intention, did he or she succeed for you?

Only then should you listen carfully to anyone else.

If Conrad is right with his statistics here then I am greatly honoured that you have read this and I commend the comment no.9 by bluecliff, with a poem entitled 'If you write in the sand'.

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