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Art criticism is the discussion or evaluation of visual art. Art critics usually criticize art in the context of aesthetics or the theory of beauty. A goal of art criticism is the pursuit of a rational basis for art appreciation but it is questionable whether such criticism can transcend prevailing socio-political circumstances.
The variety of artistic movements has resulted in a division of art criticism into different disciplines which may each use different criteria for their judgements. The most common division in the field of criticism is between historical criticism and evaluation, a form of art history, and contemporary criticism of work by living artists.
Despite perceptions that art criticism is a much lower risk activity than making art, opinions of current art are always liable to drastic corrections with the passage of time. Critics of the past are often ridiculed for dismissing artists now venerated (like the early work of the Impressionists). Some art movements themselves were named disparagingly by critics, with the name later adopted as a sort of badge of honour by the artists of the style (e.g., Impressionism, Cubism), with the original negative meaning forgotten.
Artists have often had an uneasy relationship with their critics. Artists usually need positive opinions from critics for their work to be viewed and purchased; unfortunately for the artists, only later generations may understand it.
Art is an important part of being human and can be found through all aspects of our lives, regardless of the culture or times. There are many different variables that determine one's judgment of art such as aesthetics, cognition or perception. Art can be objective or subjective based on personal preference toward aesthetics and form. It can be based on the elements and principle of design and by social and cultural acceptance. Art is a basic human instinct with a diverse range of form and expression. Art can stand alone with an instantaneous judgment or can be viewed with a deeper more educated knowledge. Aesthetic, pragmatic, expressive, formalist, relativist, processional, imitation, ritual, cognition, mimetic and postmodern theories are some of many theories to criticize and appreciate art. Art criticism and appreciation can be subjective based on personal preference toward aesthetics and form, or it can be based on the elements and principle of design and by social and cultural acceptance.