One was I had to have very low expectation of audience participation, and the other one was that judging quality is a very tricky area, and my lecturer said to me afterwards, “That was fun but I don’t know if it was good art.” I realised then that there was this sort of tension between the idea of popularity and quality within the art world, and they seemed often to be almost at odds with each other.
The fifth most popular art exhibition in the world last year was the David Hockney show at the Royal Academy, A Bigger Picture, with those big joyful landscape paintings, and it was a paying exhibition.
Proust said something to the effect that we only see beauty when we’re looking through an ornate gold frame, because beauty is very much about familiarity and it’s reinforcing an idea we have already.
I want to talk about the issue of quality because I think this is one of the most burning issues around art – how do we tell if something is good? And I want to talk about what are the criteria by which we judge art made today.
And of course now, in the art world as it is, does it really matter?