Though art is truly in the eye of the beholder, sometimes our brains can lead our eyes to a certain conclusion. An artist's reputation, how hot the gallery is that they're showing at, or a good review, can all predispose us to liking something we may not have if we'd seen it without any context at all. Do you really like that Picasso, or do you just think you should like it"¦ because you know it's a Picasso?
That's the exact question being confronted at the recent multi-media exhibit "Untitled, Anonymous" sponsored by the London-based office of ad consultancy agency Naked Communication. Everyone working at Naked, from the founding partners to the cleaning staff, was given carte blanche to create a piece of art. They were free to choose whichever topic and medium they wanted. The works were put on exhibit without any info: no artist, no title, and no explanation. Each work had to be considered purely on it's own artistic merit. A week later, a special online gallery was launched revealing who had done what and why they'd done it.
"Untitled, Anonymous" stripped the act of viewing art down to its purest form and allowed people to judge and interact with each piece without any bias. If you liked what the cleaning lady did more than the creative director, why should your opinion change once you know which artist did what? After that, perhaps the ultimate goal of the exhibit was realized: if your opinion did change, then what does that say about you?