LAURA CARTLEDGE Life’s Like That...You don’t have to like a work of art to be able to appreciate it

Art is a funny thing isn’t it?

I suppose it’s a bit like beauty.. in so much that it is ‘in the eye of the beholder’.

Not that a lot of it is beautiful, and indeed some would argue – not a lot of it is ‘art’.

From pickled sharks to unmade beds, it seems like anything can be put in a gallery these days.

With paintings being all but confined to the walls of museum instead.

Now it is more about creating controversy than so-called masterpieces, but is that such a bad thing?

Yesterday saw the opening of Damien Hurst’s retrospective exhibition at the Tate Modern in London.

As the richest living artist he has made his wealth from dealing in the downright bizarre.

I can’t say I am a fan of his work, which is just as well, I don’t exactly have a spare £50m down the back of the sofa – the price a diamond encrusted skull he created cost back in 2007.

Nor do I think cattle cut in half would look good in my lounge.

But I digress – you don’t have to like art for it to be good.

In fact sometimes it is better if you don’t like it.

For me good art is something that prompts a reaction.

A reaction which goes deeper and lasts longer than ‘that’s pretty’.

It prompts thought and conversation – complimentary or otherwise.

And isn’t that something to admire?

We are always told it is what is on the inside which counts – that brains should be revered above beauty.

So why isn’t this the same with art?

Why is so much judged on looks?

Just because it is visual doesn’t mean it has to be skin deep.