Art is like music

July 20, 2007 at 3:50 pm

Everyone is very clear about what kind of music they like, and what they don’t like.

Ask someone what kind of music they like, and they’ll immediately rattle off a list of favorites. Ask what music they hate, and they’ll list their dislikes with no hesitation. There’s no embarrassment about it. Everyone knows it’s okay not to like every kind of music!

Art is like music. There’s a huge variety of art out there. There’s something for everyone. Not everyone will like everything, but that’s okay.

A lot of people seem to be embarrassed when they see art they don’t like. They think “If it’s in a museum or art gallery, it must be good, right? What’s wrong with me if I don’t like it?” I’m here to tell you: there’s nothing wrong with you.

You don’t have to love all kinds of art.

It helps if you can articulate why you like or dislike something, but even the most highly educated connoisseurs have the occasional knee-jerk reaction. We all have our biases. Sometimes you see something and you just LIKE it. Or HATE it. Looking at art, you never know when you’ll have one of those intense, visceral reactions. It’s part of what makes looking at art exciting and fun.

Certainly it’s good to keep an open, inquiring mind when it comes to styles of art that you don’t immediately love at first sight. A little background information can make a huge difference in how you perceive the work. This is especially true for abstract or conceptual art, but it can help even with a seemingly straightforward landscape or still-life.

Just remember that if you really don’t like something, it’s okay. You’re allowed to have art preferences, just like you have musical preferences. The important thing is just going out and looking at some art!

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Entry filed under: Art Appreciation.

Neo-Pointillism (or something) My Brushes


Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

My links

My paintings

Follow me on Twitter: @barbarajcarter

Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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