Monday, May 20, 2013

The million dollar question

Last week I visited the Art Institute in Chicago, I came across some of the most beautiful paintings I have ever seen. They were a variety of paintings by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

After reading Grazian’s theories about popular culture and what makes objects significantly more popular than others however, my perception of the paintings before taking those theories into consideration was completely different than what it was after I put that theory lens on.

Artists like these are legendary. Their works of art are sold for millions of dollars. A regular person may think that that’s due to the fact that they’re brilliant artists and they produce beautiful paintings. Thinking with a sociological mindset however, I know that that’s not true. A piece of art, any piece of art, is admitted into the pop-culture category based on its perceptions from the consumer. A work of art is considered an object of popular culture once it gets recognition, whether it was positive or negative.

A product is not the work of one person; these paintings are not just works of art from the artist. There's an entire production process that delivers these paintings from the artists canvas to our museums. There's a whole procedure that starts from the person buying that plain white piece, to the artists who paints, to his manager who sells it, to the producer that auctions it off to many different museums, and finally to the museum that displays it for us beautifully under the illuminating lights.

Why are these pieces of art considered magnificent million dollars works, while graffiti is considered vandalism? Graffiti can be beautifully genius sometimes. Who’s to say one is better than the other? Who defined one as professional and the other as amateur? One can put graffiti in a frame and call themselves artists. If only graffiti artists would go that production process.

Why is this considered vandalism?

While this is considered a million dollar piece of art?

What defines an objects status in society isn’t its quality, but its perception by the consumer. All art is a form of expression. They’re all equally culturally significant no matter how ridiculous or obscene one of them is thought to be. But when a certain producer wants to make a sale, they can change the objects image in the consumers’ minds. A splash of paint on a plain white canvas can be sold for ten million dollars, while a message about society or oppression expressed through graffiti is considered "garbage".

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