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Life > Experiences

The Erosion of Artistic Integrity in the Era of Instant Gratification

Updated Published
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

Dismantling Interpretation: Susan Sontag’s Perspective

Against Interpretation by artate.art

Unmediated Encounter: Simone Weil’s Insight

In a similar vein, Simon Weil’s analysis of the critic’s position indicates that the deluge of platforms available for criticism conceals and warps the essence of art because our comprehension and appreciation of it are influenced more and more by the opinions of others. She underscores the risks associated with depending on external authorities, including reviewers or influencers, to dictate our response to art and the scales to which we measure good, or meaningful creations. She believed to truly appreciate art, one must abandon societal expectations and judgments, engaging in an unmediated encounter with the work to absorb and interpret meaning, personal to the individual.

Grasp of Truth by Nitch

The Rise of Social Media: A Double-Edged Sword

Social media platforms have emerged as the new arbiters of opinion and taste in today’s hyper-connected society, providing a plethora of voices to inform our perceptions of art. We are constantly inundated with carefully curated material from Twitter critics and Instagram influencers, competing for our attention and molding our opinions. The danger of enabling other people’s opinions and interpretations to take precedence over individual interpretations dilutes original thought. As Sontag argues, “to photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge—and, therefore, like power.” This dynamic is heightened in the setting of social media and the advent of powerful art critics, as we can find ourselves more preoccupied with selecting the “right” reaction to a piece of art than allowing ourselves to experience it honestly.

This perpetual exposure to ideas and societal expectations engenders a homogenization of preferences, compelling us to assimilate rather than carve out unique avenues of artistic exploration. The allure of conforming to public sentiment can stifle individuality and authenticity, detaching us from our true selves and the task of defining “our truth.” Moreover, the relentless quest for validation through likes and shares may distort our perception of art, reducing it to a commodity for consumption and exchange, rather than a profound testament to human creativity. As Sontag notes, “Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.” We transition from active participants in art to mere spectators in our own lives, passively absorbing everything through the filtered prism of social media.

Critics from artists and thinkers

Numerous eminent artists and intellectuals have expressed concerns regarding the influence of society and critical perceptions on the appreciation and comprehension of art. Film director Martin Scorsese has expressed disapproval of the tendency toward commercialized blockbusters which prioritize profit above artistic integrity, and fashion designer Tom Ford has lamented the decline in individuality and craftsmanship in the business. In the era of social media, Banksy has voiced concerns about the monetization of art, wherein pieces are judged more on their capacity to generate buzz than on their aesthetic value. An art critic, Robert Hughes issued a similar warning about the “McDonaldization of culture,” referencing the superficial state of creativity often devoid of depth. Such criticisms underscore the risk of placing an undue emphasis on societal norms and external approval, consequently producing a blind spot for the enjoyment of creativity and beauty. Philosophers have also observed that our capacity to interact meaningfully with art might be undermined by the incessant onslaught of visuals and the temptation to fit in with online personas, leading to a loss of originality and authenticity.

Listen to the Art Junot Díaz by onepieceaweek

A Call to Action

When we accept the wisdom of these renowned artists and intellectuals, we risk succumbing to the exact temptation they decry: the desire to fit in and adopt popular perspectives without conducting our analysis or simply living in the moment. Dependence on their authority makes it simple to accept their statements and mold our opinions without additional investigation or questioning. True enjoyment of art, however, necessitates more than just accepting it passively; rather, it involves active participation, a readiness to confront assumptions, and a willingness to delve deeper into our comprehension. As we explore the intricacies of both art and society, let us take their words to heart—that is, as invitations to think mindfully, ask provocative questions, and discover our truths in the vast and always dynamic field of creativity.

Receding Culture of Love for Cinema by classics.covered
Katy Masden, a summa cum laude graduate of NC State with a degree in Business Marketing. Her academic journey is a fusion of creative extracurricular activities and an insatiable wanderlust spirit, both of which have ignited her aspirations within the field of marketing. Her goal is to collaborate with innovative magazines and fashion companies that share her unwavering enthusiasm for pioneering ideas. As an active member of the American Marketing Association, Katy is eager to connect with industry leaders, recognizing the immense value of networking and shared insights to drive innovation within the marketing and global business landscape. Post-graduation, her ambition is global, with a desire to travel and cultivate diverse ideas into innovative campaigns. She is eager to immerse herself in the dynamic world of creative direction, forging cross-cultural collaborations and pushing the limits of marketing.