How to Stop Making Bad Art

Several months ago I had a discussion with several friends about modern art. It all started because of two articles in,
The articles have several photos from recent exhibits showing ridiculous examples of what is being called art. For example: a neon sign that reads "My Cunt Is Wet With Fear", wooden shelves of porcelon dogs and cats, a photograph of the artist rubbing money against her vagina.

I understand what the author is trying to say but contemporary modern art is kind of an easy target.  The guy should challenge himself: write a story mocking juggalos, or arguing that corgis are cute.
I know very little about how art criticism works in any academic sense. I spent most of my time in art class during college flirting with a very cute (and talented) red-head named Lara. But I have also spent the past 15 years creating music in the hopes of getting noticed. So my thoughts aren't completely uninformed but I'm still shooting from the hip.  
Let's pretend there are 3 criteria that we use when looking at any given art piece.
  • is it interesting?
  • is it well-crafted?
  • is it challenging?
All of those are subjective but seem to sum up the initial interaction between the art and the viewer. So perhaps the quality of the art depends on how those criteria interact. And artists who want to be noticed can manipulate their art to accentuate one criteria at the expense of another. For example if your art is interesting and challenging then perhaps it can be less well crafted. Is your art difficult enough to be challenging but not too difficult?

I would further assert that all of these criteria rely on different skills. By the time you get to undergrad art most professors may assume that you've at least started working on the craft component. One difficulty with modern art is that it's difficult to judge the quality of the craft - "are those really well crafted neon signs?"

I think a lot of times younger artists want to put the interesting/challenging criteria ahead of the craft criteria. At eighteen it's easy think you are so interesting and challenging that you don't have to deal with the boring mechanical parts of learning how to paint/draw/sculpt. And of course there are always the outliers who are interesting and challenging enough to do this.

There is also a 4th criteria that I like to call Magic. It's difficult to explain; maybe it's two-parts "right place at right time" and one-part "you know a guy". I've seen it before with local bands who unexplicably blow up. They're not awful but they're not amazing so it's got to be something else. I also kind of equate it with the LUCK skill you find in certain video games. We don't really know how it works but its still seems to have an impact.

There are no hard and fast rules for being successful. But it's safe to say most of the art from those articles doesn't meet any of the criteria above. Sometimes the art doesn't meet any of the criteria and still sells for millions - MAGIC! Sometimes the art meets all of them fairly well and still goes unnoticed - MAGIC!