The Need for Aesthetics in Art / by Chris Hall

Hamlet, I presume?

Hamlet, I presume?

"The problem isn't aesthetic standards, it is standard aesthetics." 

I've heard this argued before, and I can support this, but I also think it is worth mentioning that another problem is the complete disregard of aesthetics all together.  Aesthetics is the language of visual art, and without its use, there will, more often than not, be a failure to communicate.  Art can do many things and it serves many purposes, both good and bad.  But if there is one unifying prime directive, I think it can safely be summed up as a need to communicate.  Without aesthetics, the communication too often fails or falls flat.  Much of conceptual art, it seems to me, disregards the importance of aesthetics, and this is why many a lay person, and even art aficionados, will walk away in disgust.  No one likes to feel stupid in front of an artwork that they just don't get.  And most of the time it is not the spectator who is stupid, but the artist, because they have failed to properly communicate.  Aesthetics draws people into an artwork, bewilderment turns people away.  It is good to have a kick ass critical, smart idea, but it is also good to instill a sense of curiosity and wonder.  And if you manage to combine these two things, then you just might have something  . . . great.