Who defines “art”?

Recently I attended my first portfolio review. Twenty minutes with each of 10 “experts” – gallery managers, book publishers, recognized photographers, etc. It was a great experience. I received much good feedback and suggestions.

There was a common theme to the feedback on the following photograph:

Martini Glass

“Beautiful photograph. But from a Fine Art perspective, it reminds me of a vodka advertisement.”

I will grant the utter futility of trying to convince someone they shouldn’t feel what they feel. But isn’t this a bit strange? Advertising art directors are looking for technically excellent, engaging images. And they have the resources to get them. Do we now define “Fine Art” as the antithesis of those characteristics? Do we really want to allow Madison Avenue to define what we consider Art?

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