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“Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” - Berné Brown


Something that has come up for me in a few ways lately is the idea of judgement in the arts. Judgement is a fundamental part of art criticism. But what about informal judgement? The judgement we make about our own work, the work of others, and the relationship we have with the real or imagined judgment that comes from others about us and our work? 

My Answer:

After taking the time to sift though my thoughts for this week, I realized that the only time I am unhappy with a judgement of my work is when I feel that it is valueless, meaning, there seem to be no real values attached to the judgement. When I make a judgement of someone else’s work, I always try to include my criteria for that statement and honor the emotion that came up for me when I viewed the work. If I do this, I feel confident and fair in anything I express.

Thoughts and Actions:

What is judgement?

By definition it is the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing. 

What is a value judgement?

An assessment of something as good or bad in terms of one's standards or priorities.

What is an artistic judgement?

Artistic judgments may be linked to emotions or, like emotions, partially embodied in our physical reactions. Seeing a sublime view of a landscape may give us a reaction of awe, which might manifest physically as increased heart rate or widened eyes.

How do you judge an artist or piece of work? (An incomplete list)

  1. Creativity and originality 

  2. Quality of artistic composition and overall design

  3. Overall impression of the art

  4. Precision, execution, and attention to detail

Visual art has an accepted 5 criteria for judgement: line, shape, color, texture and space.

But what are the accepted criteria for performance art? Is there a generally accepted criteria?

At the end of the day, it’s all made up. But who makes the rules? I think we all do, AND it is once again a question of values, I will make a value judgement based on MY values. We all do that in some way, whether you have your own set of original values, OR you are using an accepted set of values that you were given by someone else.

Judgement of art can be KIND, thoughtful, genuine, respectful, and positive. We tend to think of judgement in a negative way, but that is often colored by our experiences with someone who has or displays an excessively critical point of view. Our negative association to judgement can also be colored by the tone that a judgement has been delivered in.

Because we know that judgement comes from a set of values (or preferences), we can also infer that the old adage is true for a reason: other people’s judgement of you says more about them than it says about you.

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