How to appreciate art

via The New Yorker, 1/16/12


Having dragged my friends along with me to museums many times despite their protests of “I don’t get art,” I was excited to find this cartoon as a model to show them how to appreciate a painting.

…Okay, so maybe this isn’t the secret to understanding art, but in my mind, it’s really not so complicated as people think.  In some cases, you feel a connection to the subject or style or colors.  Sometimes, you immediately understand what the artist is trying to show, what the scene represents, or what a work of art “means.”

Other times, you may not understand a work of art, but that’s okay too.  It might make you feel confused or disoriented or disturbed or angry, which are all perfectly valid feelings.  For me, looking at a work of art is about inviting these thoughts and feelings, whatever they may be.  You don’t have to like or appreciate every work of art (ask any art critic), but be open to it.  Ask questions.  Feel a little uncomfortable.  Taking the time to stop and look is just the first step.

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