When we look at an impressive painting, watch an amazing movie or listen to really good music we often say: “That’s real art!”
And just like that people often say “That’s not art” while looking at something they do not understand or where quality and craft is missing. But the question if something is art is irrelevant in most cases. A work is an art as soon as the creator says so. So the more important question should be: “Is this good art?”
Just like bad food stays food, or an awful movie still is a movie the word “art” says nothing about the quality of the work – it is unbiased.
If we look at art in this way it is easier to understand how the personal taste is important.
Of course, there are different kinds of good and bad art in every category: realism, abstract, installations etc. If for example, some people do not like sculptures, in general, that does not mean that sculptures, in general, are bad. The same with popular art genres: not every artwork produced in that style is automatically good because it was created like that.
The personal taste only matters important if the quality of the art is also good. An oil painting painted in a poor quality will stay a worse oil painting no matter if there is a group of art lovers who generally like oil paintings.
Art can and should be judged objectively. But what makes us say this is good or bad art?
The answer is not that difficult. If the artist had a goal for his work which for example has an intellectual, aesthetic or a philosophic value for our society. Then he has created a good work if he was able to transfer his chosen subject on the canvas impressively and in a way that it stands alone.
We look for example at an artist, who wants to create a sculpture expressing a political theme. The artist must follow his goal during the whole creative process. At the end, the observer should understand the meaning of the work and the artist’s opinion by looking at the sculpture. If the observer has to ask the artist to understand what he did or tries to show then the work has failed its purpose.