Will Heath wrote:
This is a good point Attila, does one have to have a traditional Japanese bonsai background in order to be able to critique, even criticize, bonsai?
I personally find this concept disturbing and it makes absolutely no sense to me. I am not Japanese, nor do I have a history of Japanese studies, but this does not prevent me from enjoying ancient Japanese wood-block prints or paintings. By the logic presented above, unless one is of European descent or has studied European culture for decades, one could not possible enjoy the paintings of the European masters or discuss them intelligently.
In not art universal? If one needs a particular cultural education to understand or enjoy it, then it has failed.
Good points Will, I do agree with most of what you've said.
However, to your question about the need to have education to enjoy it, my answer would be yes and no. There are works of art that are enjoyed by most everybody, with or without education. But certain works of art take much more effort from the wiewer's part to understand, and therefore to enjoy it. As an example, a Rembrandt, Michelangelo, or any member of the Hudson school of painting is much more "approachable" and much easier to enjoy than a Picasso, Klee, or Jackson Pollock.
So art, in the sense above, is not quite universal, but rather an acquired taste. It depends.