Taste, Value and Judgement

The meaning of Taste

Taste as an aesthetic, sociological, economic and anthropological concept refers to a cultural patterns of choice and preference. While
taste is often understood as a biological concept, it can also be reasonably studied as a social or cultural phenomenon. 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. Taste and consumption are closely linked together; taste as a preference of certain types of clothing, food and other commodities directly affects the consumer choices at the market.

Taste is linked to social division in a community, there are variations of groups of people depending on taste, the prefernces often link them together forming groups of people having the same taste as one another.


  • Is a branch of philosophy concerned with the study and concepts of beauty and taste. It involves the study of the rules and principles of Art. 

Aesthetics is for the artist as ornithology is for the birds. Barnett Newman

The philosopher Dennis Duttonidentified six universal signatures in human aesthetics:

  1. Expertise or virtuosity –  Humans cultivate, recognize, and admire technical artistic skills.
  2. Nonutilitarian pleasure – People enjoy art for art’s sake.
  3. Style – Artistic objects and performances satisfy rules of composition that place them in a recognizable style.
  4. Criticism – people make a point of judging, appreciating, and interpreting works of art.
  5. Imitation – works of art simulate experiences of the world.
  6. Special focus – Art is set aside from ordinary life and made a dramatic focus of experience.

Immanueal Kant Wrote about the judgement of Taste in his works specifically defining  the conditions that effect taste; subjectively and universality. Subjective taste is based on the feelings on pleasure or displeasure or beauty or ugliness. Sometimes people make a judgement of taste based on authority (peer pressure) and others do it on cultural responses such as mainstream. He counts that pleasure of beauty is the perception of the thing only and not of desire. People represent what they find in good taste as beauty or something they want to consume but there reasons could be from the rules of nature or the determination from the groups you are in. This is a statement below that supports what I have spoke about above:

… when [a man] puts a thing on a pedestal and calls it beautiful, he demands the same delight from others. He judges not merely for himself, but for all men, and then speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things. Thus he says that the thing is beautiful; and it is not as if he counts on others agreeing with him in his judgment of liking owing to his having found them in such agreement on a number of occasions, but he demands this agreement of them. He blames them if they judge differently, and denies them taste, which he still requires of them as something they ought to have; and to this extent it is not open to men to say: Every one has his own taste. This would be equivalent to saying that there is no such thing as taste, i.e. no aesthetic judgment capable of making a rightful claim upon the assent of all men. (Kant 1790, p. 52; see also pp. 136–139.)

Basically saying when a man calls something beautiful he expects the same from others, he demands this judgement to be the same as others feel, if they judge differently they don’t fit in to the normality  this then means that person does not have taste and this man judges them accordingly. Taste seems to be categorically recognized universally the same i think that depends on the culture and the things that are popular at the time. Sometimes groups go against the recognized universal ‘things’ but the group become the same as the group were before, as they all end up  liking the same thing so the pattern of social groups continues. Just like popular culture.

Many people these days seek the original of Art but many trends take place based on the originals such as the Mona Lisa everybody wants a bit of the original, the one of a kind original is known to cost alot more than the copies. The one of a kind is popular culture and of high demand, the less people own it the more popular it is, work of Art can be worth more or less in the world due to physical changes or whether many people owned it previously. To me it’s like the Magpie trying ot create the best nest, the shiniest piece of tin foil they have found is the best.

The work of Art in the age of mechanical reproduction

The aura of the original

Walter Benjamin 1936

Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of  art is lacking in one element:its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.This unique existence of the work of art determined the history to which it was subject throughout the time of its existence.This includes the changes which it may have suffered in physical  condition over the years as well as the various 
changes in its ownership. The traces of the first can be revealed only by chemical or physical analyses which it is impossible to perform on a reproduction; changes of ownership are subject to a tradition which must be traced from the situation of the original.

This statement raises the point from where i discussed before about consumerism and the factory lines. The more we create of the same thing, so say constants of the same stock such as the same poster, the more people will keep wanting originals and spending a lot of money on it. The original becomes more attractive the more rare it is to find, due to the changes in mechanical reproductions in modern era the original has become ever more popular, this to me creates the aura of high and low art. It puts Art in certain categories of its own, although i don’t believe any Art is low or high Art, Art is Art.

We should not keep categorizing everything or i feel that adds to the pressure of creating something amazing when you could have a photograph tucked away somewhere that could be better than peoples expectations. Taste seems to come from what popular at the time but following mainstream is not always the way to creating the best Art, it can make you some money but your piece won’t always be remembered and it may not be something your that passionate about. In works of Art are beautiful they are from somebodies imagination on something they felt was important at the time, the brain is beautiful and so that makes Art beautiful.

To me High and low Art creates whether something is worth it or worthless and the low Art could be more of someones taste than of someones who likes the high Art. The person who likes the high Art may expect you to agree with him but the low Art in your eyes could be better, to me high Art is only excepted as high Art like the explanation of the judgement of taste in philosophy, If you do not agree your made out to be not good at the judgement of taste.


Based on opinion than actuality

“High Art” is seen by the “experts” as a timeless piece that deserves recognition and respect within the art community.images

“Low Art” is often characterized by having a specific place in our history something that is a sign of the times rather than something that has withstood the test of time.


Brian Eno once said: “The difference between high art and low art is that low art is
unafraid to appeal to the senses, and high art is suspicious of the delicious, as if
one were being seduced for impure reasons.”

images (1)40th anniversary Barbie: £50,000,00

Bit over the top?

David Lachapelle

david_lachapelle_29Red Hot Chili Peppers

david_lachapelle025images (2)Pamela Anderson, miracle tan, 2004

David Lachapelle’s objective is to document Americas obsessions and compulsions using publications as a means to reach the broadest possible audience. Photographing the most popular people in the world, they were meant to attract not alienate. His contemporary photography turned into documentary etc his work create a metaphor showing a narrative of compulsions and obsessions with the physical form and how we look.

“LaChapelle does not sanctify the erotic facet in order to satisfy the voyeuristic urge or the curiosity of an audience of viewers and fans; he prefers to celebrate the freedom to use it precisely in order to liberate the representation of the body, primarily the female body, from the pornographic context, from erroneous interpretation, and from the inevitable association of nakedness with sin, or the mechanical association of passion and lust with sexual gratification, abuse, and humiliation.”

His work can show Art culture, he explores the ability to express himself freely with Art, he likes to breach the boundaries of morals in Art and in life. His images represent a message to the viewer, his images point towards vanity and over consumption but this can often be related to the pressures of everyday society. Using his striking colors in his imagery no wonder they are eye capturing, but what i truly enjoy is his ability to speak without words.


images (3)

Nude green leaves and bust, 1932 $106.5 million

Economics is the study of value, the price of something can be based on what its worth to the public such as a rare painting. Can depend on the originality and the physical damages and popularity at the time.

Price often observably alters with supply and demand, scarcity,
therefore Economists have come to define the subject by it:
“choices between alternative uses of scarce resources”

It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art.
Oscar Wilde


Andreas Gursky, Rhein II, 1999, C+print & mounted to plexiglass in artist’s frame, 81×140 inches
An image of the Rhine by German artist Andreas Gursky fetched $4.3m(£2.7m) at Christie’s New York, semngan auction record for a photograph. November 2011

Without tradition Art is a flock of sheep without a Sheppard. Without innovation it is a corpse. Winston Churchill

Places where Art is judged:

  • Ocula Black
  • artnet.com

What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Oscar Wilde

References: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090121120652AAgdHkR







Last accessed at 19/04/2013 at 1800


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