Considering David Hume wrote the "Standard of Taste" in the 1750s, and Toulouse-Lautrec wasn't born until 1864, I'm not quite sure about the 'originality' of the axiom - amd adulterated (or not), it is still an overused statement to justify (or otherwise) people's decisions about works of art.The "Beauty is in the eye" bit is one of the most adulterated quotations of all time. It was originally printed as a reply from Toulouse-Lautrec to an Art Critic of the day, who critiqued one of his works... a painting of a man in a chair, paying attention to a woman in a state of being half-dressed. The Critic was appalled, "Pornography!! The man is watching the woman undress!!". Lautrec replied, "The occasion is the couple's twenty-fifth Wedding Anniversary. The man is watching his wife *DRESS* prior to `going out on the Town' to celebrate." - and then, "The EVIL is in the eye of the beholder."
Why not???? To not even consider value judgments about most things would therefore make most things value-less, wouldn't it? And unfortunately, with todays post-modern slant on art, where everything is simply open to any interpretation, isn't that what we've got? Valueless art?"Value judgements can, and should be made about all things all the time."
Absolutely not. There is nothing wrong with simply enjoying something. In fact, it should be encouraged.I HAVE been known NOT to expend energy on the idea of "What's it worth", and just "enjoy". Is there something wrong with that?
BUT - that does not mean that there isn't something that goes deeper within the enjoyment, that is a tangible and objective quality to the experience - whether this is pursued or not.
As an example, at a very basic level (and bringing it back to photography for a while) - when matting a work for presentation, many photographers will choose non-acidic board because of it's archival qualities, over and above the other, acidic options. While this is a practical decision based on archival needs, it is also a value judgment due to the inherent qualities within the object. Does it make the photographer elitist for choosing one over the other? Especially since the non acidic board is more expensive etc...?
And what about choice of paper? Resin coated multigrade, or fibre based 'art' paper? Is a photographer elitist if she opts for the fibre based, due to its percievable "quality" difference?
We make choices all of the time about inherent qualities in things that make them 'better' than other things - and why not???
That does not mean that everyone should also follow suit, and it also doesn't mean that everyone will agree on the choices made. But getting back to the original question of whether there is "Good" or "Bad" art - I think that to suggest that there isn't a qualification to be made drags everything down to a lowest common denominator - and if we are all happy for that to happen then so be it.
Sorry - gotta go - my next 'fix' of quality reality T.V. is about to start. 8)