Perhaps those who enter a plea of “but it’s art, m’lud” ought to be tried, not by a conventional judge and jury, but by a panel of critics and academics.
However, this must not be an easy option; these art courts would be able to impose sanctions as draconian as those available in the regular system. Bad art should be punished with the same ferocity as bad behaviour. Artists who elect to be tried on the merits or otherwise of their work might like to recall the fate of Cinna, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Mistaken for his namesake, one of Caesar’s assassins, Cinna pleads that he is a mere poet; the mob’s verdict is to “tear him for his bad verses”.
And how wonderful it would be to have some ne’er-do-well windily claiming aesthetic justification for his latest outrage, only to find, peering out from beneath the judicial wig, the withering gaze of Brian Sewell.