I think there are two layers to art. The first one being appreciating the skills of the artist. Such as the skilled lines, circles, the geometry, the structure of the art piece, the masterful representation of the idea or the reality, the uncountable techniques in depicting one or other purpose. The first layer coming definitely with practice and deliberation. We really can’t describe the seed of our fascination, without a prior knowledge to the specific art “genre”. The ‘shepard tone’ in “Bach’s Canon A “2 making our minds feel the illusion of infinity, or the usage of the ‘golden ratio’ in Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”, that sucks us into the art piece and makes us fall in love with it. We can also dwell in the ingenuity of the architectural solution of the Eiffel Tower as much as other genius inventions.
The other purpose or layer to art being a way of communication. Or a way of one to plant the seed of an idea, intended or not, to many. One of the similar points of different arts such as painting or writing being the ability to provoke emotions. Now, the idea and emotions being both abstract creations, one is definitely more from the rational sphere, and the second of more from the sensitive sphere of one’s being. The artist’s purpose in this sense can be either to implant an idea or to provoke an emotion for the audience. Taking Duchamp’s “In Advance of the Broken Arm” as an example, we can invariably see the distancing of the first layer, and proclaiming the invisible sphere of art. By placing an object into a foreign environment, in this case, a snow shovel being placed in an art museum and receiving a masterful status, we as humans can’t help but reason to bring a connection and order to the randomness. We get numerous set of questions that bring fruit to answers we would never come upon before.
It is fairly healthy to be able to distinguish these two layers of art, to fully enjoy all the art and the world around us. In the end, we are individuals and subjective beings, and what is important is how we feel and what we think. There will definitely be rule breakers such as Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock or Laurence Sterne to whom we can be thankful for raising the bars for the ways of expressions, and how we perceive the impressions when we open our senses.