Understanding the Misunderstood Art From Different Cultures
By Kate Woods
experience the artist was trying to display, if only for a brief moment in time.
enjoyment erases the barriers and the limits, and allows cross-cultural
understanding and appraisal.
culture, a smiling monkey is the scariest thing they could ever imagine, and to
another, it means laughter. A close minded person viewing an ancient religious
mask would see nothing more than nonsense, while one who wishes to understand
place themselves in a way so that they may understand the original meaning ofthe
mask, and form an educated opinion on it.
Anyone can enjoy a piece of art, but what is it that makes a piece of art
so and brings a warm smile to the viewers face. Is it a measure of
craftsmanship? A measure of mediums used? A measure of technique? Or is it
just a measure of how it affects the viewer? Is good art visually irritating or
visually pleasing? The beauty of art is impossible to define, for it’s beauty
inherently lies in the eye of the beholder. As Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
said, “Beauty is the spiritual put into a form.” So, in defining beauty, one is
attempting to define the spiritual beliefs behind the form. This means that
that which is seen as ugly is just something that is new or is not fully
understood by the viewer.
Knowledge of art is just a measure of experience. It is impossible for someone
to know art, but it is possible for someone to be well briefed in the field of
because art is indefinite. There is no right or wrong, good or bad, and the
rules change every day. When art is studied, the observer may note things such
may carefully measure the dimensions of an object, catalogue its mediums, its
they will never fully capture the meaning of the piece, for seeing is not
understanding. Maybe this is why art is studied. The absolute uncertainty is
guaranteed, and it is human nature to want to understand what is not understood.
This may be what draws people to art exhibits and museums, the primal urge to
fully understand art”. This will never be possible.