The Pretension of Calling Art Pretentious


This might be one of my biggest pet peeves: people calling art pretentious in a derogatory manner. Let’s look at the definition of the word:


attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.

You know, pretense, as in to pretend, make-believe.

Now, is that not the very purpose of art, especially within fiction? To take a blank canvas and create amazing imagery for the mind, blank pages, to put words of unbelievable tales of adventure onto, or to take surreal landscapes and bigger-than-life actor’s performances and capture them onto film.

Sure, creative people could stick to drawing bowls of fruit, making documentaries, or writing non-fiction, but creating outside those lines demands pretension, to take nothing but your imagination and make something untrue, unbelievable, and grandiose. Does it reflect the reality of an artist sitting in her underwear mashing at a keyboard, or a painter getting stoned in his shitty apartment and splashing paintings of castles and ghouls onto a canvas? Of course fucking not. And it shouldn’t.

When it comes to art, it’s suppose to be pretentious, and pretentious is a good word in this context. When the word pretentious is to be used correctly in the negative form, it should be reserved for the pretentious people who criticize other people’s work for being pretentious, and ironically calling attention to the fact that they clearly consider their own opinion to hold more value than actually exists, as is the very case for this dumbass blogger (me), and on down the line creating infinite layers of irony, hypocrisy, and pretension.

So, the next time you come across a brat shouting from the rooftops that someone else’s work of art is pretentious, you can send them to this page for a timeout and reality check.