High and low art… What nonsense.
Art is art. But there are levels of competence and dedication embedded in every piece of art. And there can be references embedded, as well, only visible to the experienced or patient senses.
How capitalism treats works of art is another matter. It seems that elitism as sales arguments has run amok. And that in itself will rid the masses of understanding of nuances in interaction with art, and may also have a copy-effect on artists – that they will self-censor in order to live up to buyers’ expectations.
Take “Creative Writing” for example. That is a real Janus head, a double sided sword, a throw with a two faced coin: For good, or for worse? It seems to me, though, that much “creative writing” is doing away with little painful hooks of personality to make the ride smoothly perfect; ideal.
Or take any other practicing art course with teachers forced to mix competences; same problem: The understanding of how to distinguish art from craft, subservience from control, mastery from competence, becomes muddled – collectively and on a personal level.
It is not necessary to know how to paint or compose or string words together in order to enjoy and appreciate art. And not everyone has it in them live and work as artists. I believe very few schools actually offer the required curriculum: “How to use your senses” – with a base in what everyone (else) already do. Most schools fall into the trap of capitalist amalgamation: Marketable mass production inside “elitist” brands; “everyone can do it”-kind-of-thing.
Really – if you wish to know art: Go hug a tree, until the tree hugs you back. Or even better: Learn how to speak seagull, or neighbour, or cactus plant in your window. Same shit.