Taste, Value, Judgement

Is something good or bad taste?

What is its value?

Is it worth that much?

Who decides what its worth and if its good or bad taste?

Taste is about drawing distinctions between things such as styles, manners, consumer goods and works of art. Social inquiry of taste is about the human ability to judge what is beautiful, good and proper.

In art there are images considered to be in good taste and those that are considered bad taste. The images that are good taste tend to be older, classic pieces of work. They are higher on the hierarchy of what if good. For example, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is considered to be good taste as it is a famous image by a well-respected artist. It is one of the most well known images in the world, and this makes it considered high class.

On the other hand an image being bad taste, can be considered this for a number of reasons. The work of David

David LaChapelle, Pamela Anderson: Miracle Tan, 2004

LaChappelle is considered in bad taste on a whole. I personally find his work interesting and his vision and creativity is incredible. However, I find his work of bad taste for the aesthetic qualities and his portrayal of people. His work is bright, brash and the contents are controversial. Take the image Pamela Anderson: Miracle Tan, 2004.  I find the concept genius; it shows the ‘plastic’ and falsity that is considered beautiful in today’s society, in a mocking and ridiculous looking way. I feel this reflects the ridiculous look that is now considered the norm, with the fake tan and massive fake boobs. At the same time, this concept in ‘art’ could be considered bad taste. The use of Pamela Anderson, who is considered quite lowbrow, also adds to the bad taste, as she is the epitome of this look.

The value of something is hard to judge. It depends on a number of factors, including the number of copies available, the history of the piece and whether the piece is considered good or bad taste. The reputation of the artist also affects the value.

JACKSON POLLOCK “Number 5, 1948”, 1948 $140 million

Jackson Pollock and his work was considered ‘cool’ and therefore his work sold. His piece ‘number 5’ sold for $140 million. I personally would not have put this price tag on the piece. I don’t feel it is worth it. However, due to his reputation and influential people in the industry placing his work in prominent galleries the value increased.  Also as his work are paintings, which are automatically one of a kind, this also puts the value up. This is due to the fact that you are purchasing the only one in the world.

With photography, especially digital photography, it is harder to get such high value for an image. This is because the image is easily reproduced. You simple print another. This lowers the value as more than one person can own the item, therefore there is less demand for it.

The ‘judges’ of art, who decide its value and its taste, really depends on the art itself and who influences you. These people are mainly art critics who write for reputable publications, like the New York Times, and people who own galleries. The opinions of these people influence the opinions of their audience and this changes public perception of a body of art. When a body of work or an artist has a highly thought after reputation then their work will fetch a higher price. However, saying this it is a personal taste and opinion on how much they are willing to pay for a piece that really determines its value.


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