I hear someone pointing at a bronze statue saying, “That’s what I call real art!”
It indeed is art, but we probably don’t share the same definition of “real” art. In my mind, all beautiful products are to be considered art. However, we may not share thoughts on what constitutes good or bad art.
Just because I don’t understand the artist’s idea on a subjective level does not mean the artform itself is ugly on an objective standard. I think it’s as simple as if someone calls it art it’s art. If you can exhibit it at a museum, it’s also considered commercially viable art.
Note that these definitions say nothing about quality because I consider the assessment of contemporary art impossible because art gets its value recognized by future generations. Besides, the value of art varies depending on the cultural sphere and epoch that produced the art.
One difference, of course, is that most of my examples are not publicly funded art. The question still lingers, though: who decides what constitutes good and poor art? I also think that decisions about public art have been decided more from political than aesthetic visions, especially in our times of political correctness. Public art has always been political, although today we are eager to portray ourselves as tolerant and open.
It is rare to see new bronze statues of national heroes adorn our parks. That if anything says a lot about what we protect. A statue of a football player is celebrated while statues of explorers or kings are untimely. This approach, unfortunately, leads to an infantilization of the entire social climate, where kicking a ball equals scientific discoveries that fundamentally changed our view of the world. Of course, one does not need to rule out one from the other, but our contemporary view at looking at things feel flawed at best.