2014-04-02

Art Equivalence

It took an unbelievable amount of preparation, practice, and effort to paint the Sistine Chapel. Is that fact important?

Here's why I ask: We all understand that art consumption is subjective. That is, not everyone would like to hang a piece of Renaissance art in their home; some would much rather hang a pretty landscape picture painted by a no-name artist. We know this because most people hang that sort of art in their homes, if only in the form of a print, whereas very few hang prints of Renaissance art in their homes. So, the consumption of art - the determination of what we most prefer to look at - is an entirely subjective thing. There are no right and wrong answers.

Still, Bob Ross was cranking out nature landscapes on PBS at the rate of once per 30-minute segment, whereas it took Michelangelo four years to paint the Sistine Chapel. Setting aside what you personally prefer to look at, my question is whether it matters at all that Michelangelo's efforts were many orders of magnitude greater than Bob Ross'. Does it matter?

Similarly, most people these days would rather listen to Katy Perry than Beethoven. There's nothing wrong with that. If you like Katy Perry, you ought to listen to Katy Perry without having to feel like you have to justify your decision to music snobs. Heck, I like Katy Perry. She's great. Still, is there a legitimate comparison to be made between "Teenage Dream" and the Moonlight Sonata?

Seriously, I'd like to know what my readers think. To what extent do you feel that there is artistic equivalence between "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring" and "She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)"?