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Art, in three ways

This is something I cooked up when I was just a li’l kid and then now, after learning about aesthetic philosophy and Kant and Dento and Barthes and whatever I still haven’t replaced this perspective. It’s stood the test of time for me.

The three ways

Art can be good in one (or more) of three ways. Other ways too, but these three do cover a lot.

It makes the room better

It just feels good to look at, or listen to, or just walk past, by causing an emotional response. It makes you happy or sad or validated or fired up or relaxed.

It conveys a message

The message itself can be important and/or new, or the conveyance itself can be important and/or new.

“Why does this ugly square hang here? My kid could’ve painted it!”

It’s here because it was the first to convey this (admittedly boring and non-interesting idea in this particular way.

Political allegories go in here, too! Pen vs sword, folks!

It’s difficult to make

Sometimes people get impressed by art just because it looks difficult to do it. “You had to thread this string three thousand times around the room? That must’ve taken weeks!”

Utility and design

These three ways also applies to the art aspect of useful things like mugs and doors.

Our previously mentioned three ways under new names.♥

Mismatched expectations

When people feel like they don’t “get” art, it’s often that they expected the piece to be good in one of these ways and it’s not. “My kid could’ve drawn that”–style pieces fail their expectation that good art should be difficult to make, for example.

Art only has to be good in one of these three ways, or in some other way, or, as maloki pointed out the other day, art doesn’t even have to be good.