We've noted over the year a mini-trend of ConWeb writers complaining about modern art for being abstract and non-representational. Patrice Lewis offered her contribution in a Jan. 6 WorldNetDaily column by Patrice Lewis, which began by recalling an incident in a childhood art class in which a student who drew a "startlingly realistic" portrait who supposedly criticized by the instructor:
I never took an art class again. If art was so subjective that a highly talented student was in danger of failing because he didn't conform to the instructor's preference for abstract, then I wanted nothing to do with the art world. (Also, I finally recognized my artistic talent had plateaued around age 12.) Still, I felt very sorry for that student and hoped he wasn't too discouraged to continue practicing his skill.
This is a suitable junction to admit I'm a cultural cretin. The subtleties and nuances of art that send critics into raptures and turn investors into collectors absolutely baffles me. I have a few art books among our vast library, but any art fancier will scoff at my preferences (Maxfield Parrish? Norman Rockwell? Walter Brightwell?).
All of this is a lead-up to an opinion piece by Matt Margolis I read a few months ago entitled "Can't We Just Admit That Modern Art Is Garbage?"
That led to a rant bashing modern art as non-represetational and mostly lazy:
The verbiage used to describe modern art has long been mocked for its absurdity. Phrases such as "juxtaposing against the geometric perspective" and "representing the angst and energy oscillating through a metropolis" are thrown about in an effort to convince the viewer that the canvas in front of them is something more than squiggles, blotches, lines, or other output frequently executed by kindergartners.
While I don't care for the work of such modern artists as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, or Andy Warhol, at least these artists put some effort into their works. But click on the link to see Joseph Marioni's masterpiece "Yellow Painting." Yes, this is considered a serious work of art. Must have taken him five whole minutes to execute it.
The "plasticity" of modern art is such that hoaxes are not uncommon. In 1964, for example, Swedish journalist Åke Axelsson introduced a series of paintings by an unknown French avant-garde artist called Pierre Brassau that created a buzz among critics. The pieces were described as "painted with powerful, determined strokes" that yet "had the delicacy of a ballet dancer." However, these critics were forced to defend their assessments after learning "Pierre Brassau" was a 4-year-old chimpanzee.
Or how about the two teenagers in 2016 who, while visiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, spontaneously placed a pair of eyeglasses on an empty patch of floor? The new "exhibit" drew visitors who stared at, admired, and photographed the glasses as if they were witnessing something marvelous.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, tells you everything you need to know about modern art. It's neither "intense" nor "plastic." It's stupid.
"Modern art can be pretty much anything that consists of two ingredients," concludes Matt Margolis. "1) Zero talent and 2) a gullible audience convinced of its value." I'm forced to agree with him.
On the other hand, consider this: One of Piet Mondrian's abstract paintings (described as possessing a "serene sense of compositional balance and spatial order, and with superb provenance") just sold for $51 million, setting a new auction record for the Dutch artist's work. I guess P.T. Barnum had it right when he purportedly said there's a sucker born every minute.