Do you like contemporary art? A new study suggests that's because you've developed an emotional connection to it. If you prefer older pieces, on the other hand, your response is intellectual. The findings, published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, from the University of Rome was based on 137 people who attended to local museums in Rome: the Braschi, which is home to pieces created through the middle of the nineteenth century, and the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. Essentially, how you feel about a piece is based largely on when it was created.
Both groups – the emotive and intellectual – stated that their reason for going to the museums was "an interest in the artists" and the opportunity to "see the artworks in the original." But, those opting for the National Gallery frequently responded that they enjoyed "the pleasure they feel during their visit," while those going to the Braschi cited a "desire for cultural enrichment."
Is it as simple as "modern art is to be enjoyed and the classics are to be appreciated?" It sure seems that way, as the response by those hitting the Braschi seem to equate it to taking the stairs rather than an elevator – it feels good because it's good for you. That said, there's no doubt that intellectual stimulation feels fantastic, so oversimplifying the reaction as some form of self-betterment is probably a tad unfair, especially since participants in both groups had high scores for "openness to new experience." The modern art lovers, though, did tend to lean toward "sensation-seeking."
The demographic breakdown is pretty interesting, as well. Most of the participants were women, and all generally had similar levels of education. But, those preferring the National Gallery were 10 years younger, on average, than those gravitating toward the classics.
[Photo by Steve Ferdman, Bauzen Studios]
What Kind Of Art Do You Prefer?