I would by no means consider myself an “artsy” person. That’s not to say I don’t like all things artistic– I love the arts and thrive on creativity. I thoroughly enjoy seeing people express themselves through painting, drawing, singing, dancing, writing, extended harpsichord performances, whatever. If you enjoy it and it gets across how you’re feeling, the more power to you.
However, there is one gaping hole in my theory of creative expression, and that is the concept of modern art. It’s not that I despise it, or turn up my nose at all things of the sort, it’s just very difficult for me to get my head around, much like Socratic Existentialism, or the popularity of Miley Cyrus.
Like other things I don’t understand, modern art has long been the subject of mockery. It started out with radical thinkers like Picasso who used tools like cubism to show the world in ways it had never been seen before. It took decades for a lot of these works to truly be recognized for their genius, by which time a monster had been released. Artists are constantly trying to reinvent the concept of art and come up with more and more radical ideas to illustrate life and ideas in ways the world has not yet seen. This is where modern art gets into trouble; people find something unsettling about paintings that look like they were created by the kindergarteners in my mom’s class selling for thousands of dollars, and it’s difficult to appreciate “art” that’s just a pile of blankets, or a bunch of items painted a specific shade of blue, or a twisted pile of metal and rocks posing as a sculpture.
It’s at this point people get rather frustrated and angry with modern art, as they ask “what is this?” and “why is this?” and “what the %@$& does this even mean?!”, which I’m sure is similar to the thoughts many of you may be having right now about this post.
Today was our sixth group tour, this time of the Modern Art Museum, led by our very own art expert, Ashley.
Ashley is an Integrated Visual Arts major and has plenty of experience with all sorts of art, so she was very patient with us. It turns out modern art is actually pretty ironic…most people get mad about it because they don’t understand what the meaning is, when really a lot of artists create their pieces for the sole purpose of making people angry. It’s a vicious circle, and frankly a lot of the displays were bizarre enough to make me step back and question reality as a whole.
The tour as a whole was extremely interesting, and it has given me an entirely new perspective on art, as well as a newfound respect for artists, even of the modern variety. That’s not to say I entirely get it (I don’t care what the artist says, that’s a glass of water on a shelf with no botany in sight), but I can honestly say I’ll never again dismiss something just because it’s abstract.
I should be set on philosophical outbreaks for awhile now. In the meantime I’m off to bed, because the airport shuttle is picking us up at 4:30am tomorrow, from which I’ll be heading to London for the weekend. Good night kids.