Art by Peau Porotesano
Instead of appreciating the various points of view when it comes to art, people tend to judge a person’s opinions as either valid or misguided. This type of judgment needs to stop, and art elitism should come to an end.
Art sits on a weird corner of the objective and the subjective. I’m not talking about talent, skill or effort here. Of course, a well-trained artist is going to be objectively better than someone who has just begun their craft, and it is important to evaluate quality when talking about what art is important.
“If art matters, then we should care about quality. And that means having the courage to forge a standard of good taste” according to Tiffany Jenkins’ article, “Why we should stand up for good taste,” published Oct. 21, 2014 by BBC. This isn’t an argument of quality, it’s an argument of acceptance. What’s not objective is what type of art a person likes most.
We all have our favorite pieces of art — paintings, novels, movies, TV shows, music, theater, etc. I personally love the story of “Les Miserables” in all forms, and I love the 2012 movie starring Hugh Jackman. In fact, it’s probably my favorite movie of all time.
Of course, everyone is allowed to disagree with me. Plenty of people hate that movie or musicals in general. There’s a valid argument that Russell Crowe is a bad singer — I wouldn’t disagree with that — but I love that movie in spite of its flaws. I have a personal connection to that movie, something that’s not really shareable, so it’s fine if someone disagrees with me.
What’s not fine is when people begin to hold one type of art above another. Art elitism pops up anytime someone raves about their favorite movie only to be returned with an eye roll and a “really?” When someone views a type of art as less valid than another, anyone who likes that type of art is suddenly lesser, too.
We’re all guilty of this. Whenever there is a disagreement among taste, one or both sides leave feeling superior, as if they have more justifiable reasons for liking something.
I used to keep a playlist on my iPod called “Music Other People Actually Like” so I could feel comfortable leaving shuffle on when hanging out with people I didn’t know well. About three years ago I abandoned that completely and fully accepted my identity as Broadway nerd. I currently own 4 different versions of “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserable, and sometimes I listen to all of them in one sitting. I don’t waste my time pretending to like something I don’t.
“The main thing should be whether the performer or artist is bringing pleasure to someone’s life. If that pleasure is not harming anyone, it is bigoted and arrogant to mock that individual for enjoying it. We’re not the deciders of what is “real” or “proper” music, art, film, and so on.
Shaming should cease so we can all listen and enjoy whatever we like — while recognizing we are all capable of enjoying more and enjoying things in new ways” according to Tauriq Moosa’s article, “Rubbish music: why we judge others for their musical tastes,” published Jan. 24, 201 by The Guardian.
When someone is really passionate about a particular type of art, it’s never good to disregard that passion. Excitement about art shouldn’t be discouraged because the best quality someone can have is the ability to find joy in something that inspires them.
Whether it’s “Harry Potter” or “Hamlet,” appreciate all types of art and don’t disregard someone else’s preferences. Instead, be excited when someone expresses their passions and encourage a deep enthusiasm for art appreciation.
Follow Sarah Kiker on Twitter: @SarahKiker3