Friday, July 13, 2012

What is "Decorative Art"? DISCUSS

This week I've been asking myself just what is this thing called "Decorative Art" in the context of those who appear to define it by saying that it's something which isn't "Real Art".

I must confess I'm becoming a bit of a Show Me the Monet addict (see 'Show Me the Monet' - X factor for Artists?) - mostly because of the critiques by the panel which are incisive and in some cases highly opinionated.  It's very educational to see how people who judge art judge the pieces presented to them by artists from a variety of backgrounds.

For the most part I've been pretty much in agreement with their choices.

However one thing keeps niggling - and these are some of the comments which I keep hear being repeated.
"There's not enough "art" in this piece for me"

"This is decorative art and doesn't reach the standard I'm looking for"
They say them - but they don't explain them.

It struck me that the notion of what art is - and what decorative art is obviously vary depending on your perspective.

It made me wonder whether the term 'decorative art' was being used by the judges to refer to 'bad art' - or art of a 'lower standard' having 'mass appeal'.
  • Was it being used as a euphemism - a polite way of saying "This is bad art"?  
  • Was it being used to refer to art which tried too hard to look attractive?
  • Was it being used to reference art with no emotional inner meaning?
  • Was it being used in such a way as to negate the very positive aspects of what I understood to be decorative art?
It then struck me that the way The Hanging Committee were thinking might rule out anything by people like Grayson Perry (ceramicist and textile artist)  - who is an artist who comments on the social condition and is one of the more innovative artists around today.  Then I began to wonder whether this explained why so many people hadn't taken him seriously as an artist - until he became a Royal Academician.

Then I began to wonder about other artists who were not seen as "proper artists" because they failed to conform to the conventional idea of what is "real art".

Three Questions for Discussion

I'm turning this blog post over to my readers - here are some questions to get you started
  1. What is the difference between art (as in 'real art') and 'decorative art'?
  2. How does an artist know when they're making 'real art' and not 'decorative art'?
  3. Should 'decorative art' be spoken of in a disparaging way?
Do please feel free to COMMENT BELOW and add in your opinion of what is art and how you define decorative art - and what makes decorative art "OK"?

I've also added in some resources below which relate to decorative art

Gustav Klimt 016
The Kiss (1907-1908) by Gustav Klimt
180 × 180 cm (70.9 × 70.9 in) oil on canvas
Collection: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere
Gustav Klimt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Decorative Art - what is it?

Below are some links to websites which provide an alternative perspective on decorative art.

Academic Library
Art Museum
Art Society