Questions about art

In this series of five films, Questions about Art, we explore some frequent musings about art - using questions asked by our audiences.

What makes a painting iconic? Why aren't there more female artists? Why can’t I touch artworks when I'm in a gallery?

What makes an artwork iconic?

In 1980, the National Galleries of Scotland bought a painting by American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein for £100,000, and were greeted with uproar that so much money had been spent on a comic book. From its controversial origins, how has In The Car become such an iconic artwork?

Why can't I touch art?

If you’ve ever seen a painting behind glass, or a barrier in front of a sculpture, you might have wondered, ‘why can’t I touch that?’ So why can’t you touch art? And as the world of art constantly evolves, is this changing?

Why are there so few female artists?

The ten most expensive paintings in history were painted by men. And of the $196 billion spent on art at auction in the last decade, women accounted for only 2% of sales. So why are so few female artists represented in the world of art?

Who decides what art is worth?

One question we often get asked at the Galleries is: what is this piece of art worth? So, what do we really mean when we talk about art's value? And, in the world of art, who gets to decide?

Can art be good for you?

Art, in one form or another, has been around since the Stone Age, and to this day, museums and galleries welcome hundreds of millions of visitors every year. But why is this? What compels us to make and experience artworks? And is art really good for us?

31 May 2021