Exposure and Understanding Art

A short post about introspection.

Today, there was a piece of art that everyone seemed to love. Except for me. Some vocalized their opinions on why they thought it was incredible. I was called out, “Day, what do you think of this?”. I had been trying to keep my head down. “Well… I’m having a hard time understanding it… like, where it comes from?”. The room was silent. My opinion was quickly glossed over. Others shared their thoughts and expressed the level of competency the artist must have to deliver something so unique/wonderful, and I was left wondering why my opinion was so different. There were 10 other people feeling a certain way, while seeing the same thing I was seeing, and I was feeling the opposite.

I keep getting told that (paraphrasing) art shouldn’t be looked at morally. “You, as your own person, can’t have belief in the story that is being told when you’re judging it.” This all makes sense. How can we feel what is being expressed in art, when our ego is in the way? How can we understand art when we’re criticizing it? And is it a matter of judging the art because of the artist? and should art be tied to the artist?

Understanding art is up to the interpretation of the viewer, but it’s so complex. There’s no right answer? We form opinions based on what we know, which obviously vary dramatically from those surrounding us.

I was told later that the reason I was called upon to share my opinion, is because said person saw an element of myself, Day, in that art. Leading me to realize my opinion differed because I was judging the art… or maybe, I was judging the artist. I was preventing myself from seeing the work for what it really was, because I was judging it.

And when I figured out that I was judging myself in that art, I felt very exposed.