Pet peeve: Modern Art

According to Wikipedia, I’m an antimodernist.

I’m so utterly fed up with the tired rehashing of once-bold rejections of classical tradition. There are only so many times one can look at paint splashed haphazardly across a canvas before the jaded modern viewer thinks “Now wait a minute… I could have done that… HOW much is that painting worth again?” Pollock‘s already done that, and once is more than enough. I personally feel jipped (gyped?) if a museum sports too many of these or their sculptural equivalents (Duchamp, anyone?) on its walls. It feels like the artists of the world think they can force me to see value in their continual reiteration of the-new-rule-is-no-rules tripe simply by producing enough of it.

It’s time to move on.

(Far be it from me to deny you the ability to spend more money than God on whatever you want: but I’m not going to think any better of you for it, because I know it’s all about imaginary numbers. For instance, once behind the scenes at an upscale arts market, a fellow artist had a badly mistreated traffic cone on display. Warted, warped, twisted, crushed, and blistered, I tried to appreciate it as Arte. After all, there a was a $4,000 price tag attached. I was told confidentially, upon inquest into his methods, that the “artist” had found it in a dumpster as-is and thought that the venue might be conducive to its sale… i.e. rich morons so eager to look like connoisseurs to their friends that they would drop that kind of cash on a literal piece of junk.)

Is that what art has come to? That just offends me. If you can pull it off, more power to you, but don’t expect me to ever respect you again. Or take you seriously as an artist.

Art should be so much more than an endless reproduction of mindless, meaningless chaff. It should be creative expression through skill – be that skill a keen eye, an active imagination, or a deft hand with a paintbrush. Or what have you. (You’ll notice I didn’t say talent. We were all born talented, baby. To become skilled, you’ve got to work. Train. Study. Practice. Think about what you’re doing and why, for crying out loud.)

Because Art should take effort. It should take something from you that the rest of us haven’t got, even if all that comes down to is years of practice or a sharp imagination. It should be new – or at least different – and difficult to execute well. Hell, if the rest of us have to slave away to earn our livings, artists shouldn’t be able to make millions just by smearing jello through their hair and smearing it all over their bedsheets.

That said (neither as succinctly nor as eloquently as I would have liked), I’ll get to the reason I posted a blog at all tonight. (This was supposed to be a one-liner-and-url kind of blog entry, but poke my pet peeves and I wax poetic): I think this is neat.

T. Noble & S. Webster, Dirty White Trash [With Gulls], 1998

Because it’s so damn cool. And clever. And because it was hard, and they pulled it off, and they had to work at it.

No, of course I’m not saying that it’s as culturally or historically as important as Duchamp, or Mondrian, or Pollock, etc. – it’s not high Arte. But I appreciate it more than theirs.

2 Responses to “Pet peeve: Modern Art”

  1. Amber Says:

    Ooooooooooooh. That is the coolest thing ever! I clicked on the link, and stared at that page a good long time. Coooool. I like how down in the comments a disbeliever was saying there was no way it was ‘real’ as the same woman was pictured in all the shadows… I think he failed to read the captions… yeah, ‘self portrait’ generally means it’ll be the same person. *grin* Thank you. I need to write you a real letter one of these days- I miss you. (Oh, and I also think Andy Warhol was a talentless hack.) *sweet smile*

  2. songspinr Says:

    It took a while to get past the heap of garbage in front–tired eyes and bleery brain-(-time for bed), but what a masterpiece…who wudda thunk it?

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