Artistic Value

In a previous post, I started in on the expansive subject of art vs. craft and artistic value. The subject is so broad, I’m sure I could go a lifetime without exploring its entirety, but there are some things I’d like to mention right away, with that last post in mind.

First and foremost: not being art doesn’t diminish the value of a thing. Many things are beautiful, good, fun, thought provoking, or wonderful without being art. A sunrise is no less delightful for not being art, just as a car is no less practical, nor a conversation less inspirational. And many things – I, as a potter, insist – are not only art. A ceramic platter may be art in a gallery but a tool in a home, with neither purpose inhibiting the other. Artistic value is, in short, and hopefully not surprisingly, not the only metric by which to measure a thing’s value. And besides, determining artistic value is tricky at best…

I suspect I previously understated the fact (a word I don’t often use in reference to art) that all of these perspectives and criteria I’ve discussed are wildly subjective. Not all artists in academia agree on what art is, who can make art, why people make art, and many other questions you might think professionals would have nailed down by now. (Indeed, I’d like to write about some of the many different academic ideas of art.) That’s important to keep in mind when in artistic circumstances.

I’d also like to reiterate my encouragement for any readers with the inclination to contribute, because these things are important to talk about. Art is too often viewed as esoteric and inaccessible by people outside of the field – as well as some people within it – and that sort of perception precludes all kinds of positive experiences, personal growth, and interpersonal connections that art can facilitate.

Art’s awesome, yo. Let’s talk about it.


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