The Importance of Exploring Art You Dislike

Why You Should Think Twice About Artwork You Don’t Like

Learning to understand art you dislike often leads to discovering great art.

The most common advice you will hear from the art world is: Buy what you like. Which is logical and good advice especially for new art collectors. Still, what about the artwork you come across that you do not like? Imagine all the great artists throughout history, think Picasso, Chagall or Pollock. What do you think collectors thought of their ground-breaking new styles? Many rejected the work as incomprehensible. Consider exploring art you dislike. 

Painting by Jackson Pollock
Image of a painting by artist Jackson Pollock. Learning to understand art you don’t like leads to discovering great art.

If you buy only what pleases your eye, you may miss great art! Great art is often startling, uncomfortable and complicated. Artists like Pollock, remind us that great art offers opportunities to explore new dimensions. In order to get comfortable with a piece of art we do not understand and therefore do not like we must make a concentrated effort and be prepared for this exploration to take days, weeks or even months.  After a while exploring art you dislike will become intuitive and fun! 

Painting by Marc Chagall
Image of painting by artist Marc Chagall titled Self-Portrait with Seven Digits. Learning to understand art you don’t like leads to discovering great art.

As an art lover what can you do? Here is some advice from this gallerist. When you come across a painting, sculpture, installation, photography or any other artwork that you don’t like, first recognize that you do not understand it. Then spend time trying to understand the complexities behind the artwork, ask questions, take closer looks at the piece, read about the artist and their history. Spend the time trying to understand the complexities behind every challenging piece of art you encounter but don’t expect to comprehend them all. In summary, in order for you to not miss great art that lands in front of you, do not immediately dismiss any artwork as too strange or irrelevant.

You may still not like the artwork, however, by challenging yourself to understand it, you will be developing an appreciation that you may not have had before. This practice will not only expand your visual literacy, it will also allow you to stay ahead of yourself when that great piece of art comes along you will be ready to take a risk and have a wonderful future with an art piece that is new, strange or incomprehensible!

If you would like more ideas on how to explore challenging art, contact us. We would love to help. ~ Elsie Arredondo.