I must confess I'm becoming a bit of a Show Me the Monet addict (see 'Show Me the Monet' - X factor for Artists?) - mostly because of the critiques by the panel which are incisive and in some cases highly opinionated. It's very educational to see how people who judge art judge the pieces presented to them by artists from a variety of backgrounds.
For the most part I've been pretty much in agreement with their choices.
However one thing keeps niggling - and these are some of the comments which I keep hear being repeated.
"There's not enough "art" in this piece for me"They say them - but they don't explain them.
"This is decorative art and doesn't reach the standard I'm looking for"
It struck me that the notion of what art is - and what decorative art is obviously vary depending on your perspective.
It made me wonder whether the term 'decorative art' was being used by the judges to refer to 'bad art' - or art of a 'lower standard' having 'mass appeal'.
- Was it being used as a euphemism - a polite way of saying "This is bad art"?
- Was it being used to refer to art which tried too hard to look attractive?
- Was it being used to reference art with no emotional inner meaning?
- Was it being used in such a way as to negate the very positive aspects of what I understood to be decorative art?
Then I began to wonder about other artists who were not seen as "proper artists" because they failed to conform to the conventional idea of what is "real art".
Three Questions for Discussion
I'm turning this blog post over to my readers - here are some questions to get you started
- What is the difference between art (as in 'real art') and 'decorative art'?
- How does an artist know when they're making 'real art' and not 'decorative art'?
- Should 'decorative art' be spoken of in a disparaging way?
I've also added in some resources below which relate to decorative art
|The Kiss (1907-1908) by Gustav Klimt|
180 × 180 cm (70.9 × 70.9 in) oil on canvas
Collection: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere
Gustav Klimt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Below are some links to websites which provide an alternative perspective on decorative art.
- Wikipedia - Decorative Arts
- University of Wisconsin - Digital Library for Decorative Arts and Material Culture
- Parsons School of Design - History of Decorative Arts and Design (MA)
- Victoria and Albert Museum - search the collections
- The Geffreye Museum
- The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio
- Kirkland Museum - International Decorative Art
- National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts and History