GRE Issue Essay 169

“Although, critics who write about the arts tend to deny the existence of any objective standards for evaluating works of art, they have a responsibility to establish standards by which works of art can be judged.”

A piece of art has to be appreciated as it stems from the imagination of the artist. Critics may have assumed the responsibility to critically analyze the works of art put forward by artists, but can they compare the works of art of two different artists? Each artist has his own perspective and he may choose to express his views in a form or style that is different from those of other artists. It is difficult to define a set of rules that can determine how an artist can express himself. Hence, it is not justified to establish standards for judging such works of art and therefore, there is no requirement of critics to set standards for evaluating works of art.

The works of art that we come across are manifestations of the artists’ views, emotions and observations. An artist may define his feelings in a manner that is not common. For instance there may be a painter who chooses to make monochrome paintings that are devoid of colors. Can the critics set a standard that paintings should utilize colors thereby, making the work of this particular artist sub-standard? The paintings may appeal to a particular section of the society; whereas there may be another section of society that does not find these black and white paintings attractive enough. People have the liberty of voicing their opinions and critically assessing artwork, but it would be unjust to set standards that have to be met by artists while making their artworks.

An inevitable repercussion of setting such standards would be that artists would no longer feel free to come up with revolutionary ideas. They would be compelled to follow the norms that have been laid down and the result would be a monotonous production of works of art, most of which would be similar to what has been put up by other artists. This is because no artist would like to make something that is below the standards that have been set for that particular type of artwork. If a standard has been set for all works of art regarding sculpture, why would sculptors try to think of something that deviates from the laid down norms? Even if a sculptor makes some piece of sculpture that does not meet the recommended standards, he will probably never put it up in an exhibition because his name might be tarnished for putting up a sub-standard piece of art. The result would be that the world would never come to know what he had made and there is a probability that it could have generated mass appeal if that piece had been displayed to the public. Therefore, it is evident that imposing such standards may affect the creativity and ingenuity of artists in a major way.

The ideas and values that are represented by an artist’s work of art cannot be accurately evaluated by critics as there may be a difference of opinion amongst the critics themselves. It is not necessary that all critics would have the same opinion regarding a work of art. Take for example the book reviews or the movie reviews that we come across on the internet or the print media. There are some people who find the particular work being reviewed useful and appealing while others find that it is not worth spending time upon. This example consolidates the fact that people have a difference of opinion when it comes to evaluating any kind of work, irrespective of whether it is a work of art or not.

The very fact that people have different choices related to music, holiday destinations, movies, clothes, colors, flowers etc. proves that works of art will also be assessed differently by different people. How can then a set of people designated as critics set standards for evaluating works of art? Therefore, it is evident that it is not possible for art critics to set up standards that are globally unquestionable, for evaluating works of art.