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High and Low art: where do we place comics? The place that comics have in the art hierarchy had always shadowed the potential that this medium can achieve. In a world where Andy Warhol created screen prints of Campbell’s Soup cans, something that immediately contradicts what defines high and low art, Comics are words and pictures, The definition of low and high art as the right way of classification, high art as purely aesthetic, and low art as functional have developed in the last three centuries If people have failed to understand the place that comics have is because their definition of comics is too narrow. Comics are a good example of a medium that cannot be defined accordingly to this hierarchy.
In his book “understanding comics” (chapter 3, understanding comics) Steven McCloud explains how sequential art dates back to the beginning of humanity artistic expression, images paired with words or symbols that were methodically drawn side by side, to communicate a primitive storyline or narrative, date back to more than 10.000 years ago and were found pretty much anywhere in the world. However these “proto-comics” (page 102, studying comics and graphic novels, Karin Kukkonen) are “far from the modern manifestations of sequential art” (page 5, the power of comics, R Duncan, M. J. Smith, P. Levitz). In popular culture, comics were born in two different eras,
How can you distinct between high and low art? Comics use images and texts, both paintings and poetry are considered as high arts, so why comics are not in the same category? This narrow idea of what the medium of comics is affect how people interact with it, people who feel strongly that high art is good and low art is bad will definitely avoid comics. Low art is mere entertainment, comic books were seen as a commodity, The value of art is subjective, comics can convey meaning like any other work of art, and this allow them to speak to the human experience, Both Scott McCloud and Karin Kukkonen advocate that Whilst many comics theorists always tried to find the answer in the content of comics as where their place is. I truly believe that the answer is hidden purely in the form of the medium itself. Comics theorists always focused on the content of the comics, explaining how There is not such thing as distinction between high and low art anymore, because the human experience cannot be placed into a hierarchy.
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