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Valuing non-traditional art

Mar. 6, 2018
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The art world is a place where expression does not need an exact answer. Artwork is an expression meant to send a message or evoke feeling. The message can direct or more ambiguous, leaving the translation to those viewing the work. This is how we connect to and recognize the work. This leads to certain art being popular and more valued. Determining the value of art uses both subjective and objective analysis.

The title boxes artforms in the category of either traditional or non-traditional artwork. Traditional artwork is associated with art forms such as painting, dancing, theater, sculpting, and architecture. These art genres are forms of expression that have been used for hundreds of years. Over the generations, the art evolved into sub-expressions. Comparing the art of Michelangelo and Andy Warhol will show a clear difference. Art continues to increase in possible forms. People who strongly value the traditional styles view non-traditional work as less impactful. 

Non-traditional artwork is judged harshly, but to what standard has the art been measured? 

via: Museum of Ice Cream 

In these recent years, more current art forms are being given the spotlight. One of the most recent incidents is a trial in which graffiti artists were awarded $6.7 million after their graffiti murals were destroyed. The landlord of the area, known as 5Pointz, was sued by twenty-one graffiti artists under the Visual Rights Act, a 1990 federal law protecting an artist’s work even if the physical artwork belongs to someone else. The U.S. District Judge in Brooklyn, Frederic Block, said 45 out of 49 paintings were “wrongfully and willfully destroyed.” The trial used familiarity with the public as support of the art’s relevance and value.

The mural had been used by the public over time. It was featured as a background in the 2013 movie Now You See Me, used as a site for the Usher Tour, and had become a tourist attraction. The judge was impressed with the various artists who came in support during the trial. Block could see the graffiti was used to respond to and comment on social issues of the current times. Connection with the community and deeper messages contributed to the art’s acceptance and perceived value. Both subjective and objective details were weighed in the trial.

via: Artnet News

Considering both factors creates a more rounded view of the how artwork is being received. Subjective factors include popularity, recognition, and opinion. Being acknowledged by a large group is considered to signify value. The popularity of the work adds to objective value. Objective factors include demand, profit, and the community connected to artwork. The community associated with the art organizes the flow within the field. Monetary values are based on demand, production, and cost of investment. These are excellent ways to assign a value to an art, but they have nothing to do with a separation of traditional and non-traditional styles.

New styles of art are typically seen as non-traditional and out of place during their early exposure to the world. One day, the art becomes a niche in which to thrive. It’s similar to how well-known artists like Andy Warhol and Picasso saw things in a different light. After years of being appreciated by the general public, the new art-forms become the “norm” and seen as traditional. Not every art form needs to be “validated,” but there should be a respect shown to the art form and those who can see its value. 

Not every art form is valued by the public, but art should be respected. Art helps to connect, feel, expose, console, and make sense of the feelings we experience. Art has become a strength in helping to connect the world, and for that reason alone, art has value. Non-traditional art shares the same strong bond and should be recognized as art with value.