Plato viewed human life as a pilgrimage from the appearance to reality. He also believed that a piece of art had to be strictly censored when they depicted any form of evil and cruelty. When an artist imitated what was bad, they added to the sum of badness in the world. Both Plato and Aristotle pointed out, we as humans do find delight in representations of objects and emotions that we consider different from real life; most of us agree with Aristotle in refusing to believe that they are corrupt.
We must be aware of the global culture and heritage from which art emerges. For example when teaching our students art aesthetics, we must never let them think that there is only one way to view art. Students, and especially teachers, should be ready to accept all ways in which art evaluation can occur. Western aesthetics is based primarily on individuality, originality, permanence, and form. These factors cannot be applied to art from every culture. For example, African art is understood in terms of rites of passage, healing, power, control, and commerce. Students must be taught to understand the principles of art as they are understood by the cultural group in which they belong in order to truly achieve global awareness and appreciation for art. Obviously, teachers must gain this awareness themselves before they can impart it to their students.
Travel, physically or intellectually, is necessary for teachers who truly aspire to instill a devotion to open-mindedness and tolerance in their students. Furthermore, teachers themselves must be open to teaching about culturally diverse art, and learning the history and meaning behind such pieces. As teachers, we must constantly be open to expanding our base knowledge and learning new information to share with our students. It is important to note that teaching art requires more than just looking at pictures, listening to music or watching a dance. To teach art in a truly meaningful way, principles of art history, production, criticism and aesthetics must be explored.
Despite perceptions that art criticism is a much lower risk activity than making art, opinions of current art are always liable to drastic corrections with the passage of time. Critics of the past are
often ridiculed for either favoring artists now derided (like the academic painters of the late 19th Century) or dismissing artists now venerated (like the early work of the Impressionists). Some art movements themselves were named disparagingly by critics, with the name later adopted as a sort of badge of honor by the artists of the style (e.g. Impressionism, cubism), the original negative meaning forgotten.
Some critics are unable to adapt to new movements in art and allow their opinions to override their objectivity, resulting in inappropriately dated critique. John Ruskin famously compared one of James McNeill Whistler‟s paintings, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, to “flinging a pot of paint in the public‟s face”.
Artists have often had an uneasy relationship with their critics. Artists usually need positive opinions from critics for their work to be viewed and purchased; unfortunately for the artists, only later generations may understand it.