Can art be judged?

Bravo Work of Art

Bravo Work of Art

Bravo Work of Art

Have you seen the Bravo TV show, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist?

In full disclosure, I only caught twenty minutes of the show as I was channel-surfing one day. A group of fourteen painters, sculptors, and photographers were judged to find the next great artist. The show pushes a new boundary in reality TV, not necessarily because it judges art, but in the way it casts a very public tv camera into the creative process (not to mention how it presented competitions, like many other reality shows, that would never be found in the real world).

However, the TV show led to a spirited discussion with my fourteen year old daughter. She said creativity can’t be judged. I disagreed and said I thought it can be judged. It’s possible that we were talking about slightly different things – creativity vs. art – the creative process vs. the final product. But it started me thinking about how subjective the creation and enjoyment of art can be.

Maybe our different opinions had to do with our age difference, and perhaps I’m wed to a more classical view. When I studied art in college I formed a firm belief that classical training (in any art form) is necessary, whether or not you want to break the rules you learn down the road. It’s basic, learning to sketch, practicing scales, going to dance class.

Yet, it’s a question that doesn’t seem to have a clear-cut answer, especially if you consider aboriginal, primitive, naive, or other art forms. And it’s a question that’s part of the reason I created this site, to open up the discussion about how art is made and how it’s experienced by others.

What do you think?