Good or bad art?

Is there good art? Is there bad art?

If an artist is asked to paint a portrait of someone and it looks nothing like them, you might say that it’s bad. But it actually might be painted very well. And it may be exactly what the artist was setting out to do. 

Something that looks ‘bad’ to you may look good to someone else.

So there really is no such thing as good or bad in art. All we can do is say whether we like a piece of art or not.

Here are three paintings. Which one is best?

None of them is the best! If you asked your friends to pick the best one, some of them will pick a different picture to your favourite. We all like different things. And every piece of art will be liked by someone.

There is something called OUTSIDER ART, which is made by people who have had no art training at all. Often they are people with mental or physical disabilities. But nothing stops them wanting to make art!

Some people might say that their work looks ‘wrong’ or is badly done. What do you think?

FOLK ART is also art made by people who haven’t trained to be artists. But, actually, their ideas are very fresh and original. A lot of folk art – especially from Africa – inspired great artists like Picasso and Matisse to create new kinds of painting.

All art is brilliant!


Good and Bad Art Survey.

There are lots of brilliant virtual tours of museums and art galleries that you can watch on the internet. Here’s one of them, in two parts – a visit to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, America:

1) After you have watched the two videos, go to the Museum of Modern Art website collection of pictures at and have a look through some of the images shown there – as many as you have time for.
2) From the video, or from the website, choose 5 very different pictures or sculptures.
3) Which pieces of art do you like best? Why do you like them? Are there any that you don’t like? Why don’t you like them? From best (1) to worst (5), rank these pictures or sculptures in order.
4) Show the images to your friends. Ask them to rank the pictures and sculptures as well.

Did everyone have their list in the same order? What can you say about whether there is good or bad art?

You can go to the previous PostcardsFromArt secret pages by clicking the places below.

MaterialsWhat is Art?