In Western culture there are three categories of art forms – popular, folk and serious. The popular, most clearly reflected in music and literature, is always creating new material, and is dominated by commercialism. The newest is always the most in demand in popular art forms. Folk art forms are tied to cultural traditions and heritage, but also are occupied with creating new material that is tied directly to the traditions. Visual art, crafts, music and ritual objects are common folk arts. Serious art is also represented historically in the form of masterpieces and works by remembered and revered artists. New serious art is often challenging to its audience, takes a number of years to become recognized as significant by the culture, and forms a continuing evolution in Western art. Painting, sculpture, poetry, fiction and music are strongly represented in serious art forms.
Overlapping of these categories is possible. Folk art may be melded with serious art, usually by looking deeply into the folk tradition and drawing more difficult conclusions from its ideas. Popular art forms may sometimes combine with the serious and/or the folk, but such a union may be difficult due to the element of commercialism. It should also be noted that much of the content of the popular has already been heavily derived from serious and folk art forms.