I'll try and explain this the best I can.
Subjective - things depend on your own ideas and opinions: there isn't any universal truth
Objective - not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. (both taken from dictionary.com)
Now I hope you know the difference between these two, but those are there for any clarification.
- So I know that the general consensus is that, yes art is subjective, but I've been doing some thinking. It came up recently when reading an art review, the reviewer said that there is such a thing as good and bad art. I'll have to find the quote (I believe it was a Jerry Saltz article) but basically it was nothing more than a minor point in the article. What I've struggled with rationalizing over the past few weeks is that there is some art that is good (makes you think, offers new perspective) and some that is bad (cliche, bland). The best explanation I can come up with is that while art is subjective to each viewer it is objective in the consensus of the culture.
Let me give an example to clarify what I'm trying to get at. Take a listen to Kendrick Lamar's recent album, To Pimp a Butterfly. When it first came out it received universal praise, that is to say critics from all over thought it was good. In fact if you go on metacritic, there is not a single negative or mixed review for the album from the critics. At this point could we not say that the album is objectively good? Everyone agreed that this album is good, does it not become a universal fact? Well, there are some users (non-critics) on metacritic who did not agree and disliked the album. Does the opinion of a few people overthrow the general consensus of what is good or bad?
So in this example, the subjective opinion of each individual is valid in their own appreciation. However, our culture objectively agrees that To Pimp a Butterfly is good. Or maybe, the consensus of the masses is still subjective? I'm not really sure, I could still be using the definitions of subjective and objective wrong, that's why I'm asking you Hubski.
We can expand this from music to any art form though. It gets especially tricky when we get lots of mixed reviews. This happens a lot in visual art and that's what I'm struggling with. Can we actually say, "yes this artwork is good/bad." So to summarize my questions: Can art be good or bad? If it is good or bad, is that a subjective or objective fact? Is objective/subjective a spectrum and where along the spectrum do individual opinion vs consensus fall?
quoted because it made it clearer