Everyone has a different perspective on what they would classify as art. For some art is beautiful pieces of work that have been masterfully painted and hung in galleries, for others anything could be art, from a doodle in a notebook to graffiti on a wall.
The Oxford Dictionary describes art as;
The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. (Oxford Dictionaries)
Just like the definitions can vary from person to person, so can the perceived value. One person could look at a piece of art and expect to pay thousands for it, whereas someone else would look at it and think that paying thousands would be outrageous. This was something that we really wanted to explore in our Site Specific piece. At first we focused on John Berger and his Ways of Seeing series, which helped us to decide to focus on how mass production and printing effects the value of art. However, I wanted to look into other definitions of art value and how this could help our performance.
One of our original ideas was an audience participation activity, where we would show audience members a piece of art and ask them to put a value on it. “Conceptions of artistic value are developed with aesthetic value as a foil, either in reasoning where artistic value comes out as an alternative to aesthetic value or where aesthetic value figures as a subspecies of artistic value.” (Lopes, 2011). The financial value of art often doesn’t run parallel with its beauty. A piece of art may be considered to be beautiful, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s worth a lot of money. And vice versa, a piece of art that perhaps might not be considered art by some may be worth a lot of money. For example, Banksy’s art is considered to be just graffiti by some but is difficult to remove because of its popularity with the public. Often the value of a piece of art is also defined by history. For example, The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. It’s a painting that everyone knows, and has even had movies made about it. Its value is greatly enhanced by how well known it is. This is why we thought it would be interesting to get opinions of pieces of art, to see how opinions would vary from person to person. However, we realised that when put into practice this may not work. Often audience members are reluctant to offer their opinion or get involved due to the fear of getting something wrong. Therefore we decided not to go with this idea.
Oxford Dictionaries. Art. [online] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/art [Accessed 21st April 2015)
Lopes, D.M. (2011) The Myth of (Non-Aesthetic) Artistic Value. Philosophical Quarterly, 61 (244) 518-536.