High art versus Low art: Should we have this distinction? What purpose does it actually serve?

High Art? vs Low Art?

Aesthetic Apperceptions

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Mary Cassatt. Mother and Child. Oil on canvas, 1890. Wichita Art Museum.

Film still from Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

Book cover of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

Book cover of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

Beethoven, composer.

Incubus, alternative rock band.

Above I have listed a few images of artworks and artists that I have mentioned in the final paper I wrote for my Philosophy of Art seminar, in which I gave my take on the topic of high versus low art. If I asked a group of people to sort the above artists/works into the categories of high and low art, I think the categories would look pretty similar among everyone. Incubus, the movie Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Ayn Rand’s novel would all probably fall in the low art category, while Cassatt, Beethoven, and Dickens would all be placed in the high art category. It is natural…

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