My previous blog “The meaning of art” touches on another facet of the same thought, though I didn’t really discuss it:
That art is defined by YOU, the artist.
Do you agree?
With this in mind, I will now put forth my thoughts on the matter of Modern art; in defense of the most obnoxious, irritating, my-cat-could-do-that, gallery full of crap you can imagine, and perhaps I can make you understand why I think it is wonderful.
I think Modern art is all about definitions. What is art? That is a question art critics wrangle with, most everyone has a passionate opinion about, but how do we discuss this? Yell at each other? No no, that’s not necessary, because that-there is what modern art DOES! It is an ongoing, fairly calm, non-verbal discussion addressing this question: Art? What the hell are we talking about??
This is my definition of modern art.
And do you realize how much we need definitions, to be comfortable?
I met one of my favorite graphic novelists last Sunday at the Comics convention in Portland. We got into a discussion about how readers really don’t trust themselves,-ourselves- to understand visual narrative without a narrator. After giving her an big argument about it, I realized that Carla Speed Mcneil (http://www.lightspeedpress.com/) is right, I DON’T fully trust what I see without someone explaining it to me. This must be some survival mechanism we have to be sure we are all on the same page with our tribe or something… anyway, us people do seem to have a lot of difficulty dealing with something that isn’t classified and worked over with a verbal description telling us what is going on.
This often happens to me. I will study a page of a comic book and go “Huh? what just happened??” and flip to the notes in the back to confirm what I thought was going on. An explanation makes me feel safe.
Language is a harness for the world. Makes it easier to grab on to.
That’s why Modern art is scary. A modern art gallery is an off-leash park for brains!
” Ok, lets see…this is a painted, taxidermied male angora goat ( has he been neutered? I wonder.) with a tire around its middle, standing on a collage type painting…” yes indeed. hmmm…
(“Monogram” , by Rauchenburg. Just google it)
Looking at this one in the art museum when I was about six years old… I think I got it. I think I totally got modern art all in one moment. I think it is about HOW we think. I think it is about many different things all at the same time instead of a straightforward, single message. “Monogram”, has so much content going on all at that same time, it defies a linear sentence structure to define it, so it defies language. I think it is about raw input and our thought process to digest it. ( I have no idea what the artist really intended. I am making this all up. Don’t you feel safer now?).
Modern art isn’t about “pretty”, it is an ongoing wordless conversation about what the hell we are, as social, creative, nutcase, sentient creatures on this earth.
It is all about YOU.
Lets all roll in it !