I’m not sure why Art Critics and Auctioneers are so worried about this research. The art critic often serves as the “public relations officer” getting the art or art movement recognized by the masses, not a scientist. The art critic also serves to document the history of art while it’s happening. It’s their job to disseminate the messages, the higher-level concepts, the uniqueness, and the groundbreaking ideas from all other art; they must also think beyond color, form and aesthetic beauty. They must also think beyond the research that is being done on neuroaesthetics.
All that said, in the same way that disc jockeys used to determine the music that would become popular, art critics often times determine or influence what art will become popular. However with the influx of new radio stations on air and on the internet, as well as the tape trading and underground grass roots movement, music that might not have been discovered before is now getting into the hands of many. In the same way, good art that moves people will also find its breeding ground outside the art critic and scientific world. Possibly through the Internet, fanzines, and the like. And the labels or awards and placement in a museum may play a less significant role in the future.
At the end of the day, how many people are ONLY going to listen to a scientist tell them why they like or dislike a particular piece of art? And to further that point, how many lovers of art are ONLY going listen to what an art critic has to tell them? A person’s gut reaction will always impact their opinion regardless of what is said about the artwork.
It’s interesting to understand the reasons for our responses when observing and creating art; it doesn’t diminish our innate passion in any way. Therefore, I have no problem with a scientist doing research to understand how the brain reacts to art in order to understand how the brain functions on a deeper level.