Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Definitely All in the Eyes of the Beholder

So despite only being able to copy existing illustrations, I have always loved art. Oh, and I can also draw a horse, which unfortunately looks exactly the same as when my friends requested I draw them one in 8th grade. Not a whit of difference, I'm sad to say. One of my favorite classes in both high school and college was Art History/Appreciation. I loved looking at the paintings in particular, with Impressionists probably being my favorite, especially Van Gogh. But I adore Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Eyck, and Degas as well.

I also love going to museums and soaking up the paintings, which always look so very different than in the books or on the web. To see the brushstrokes and blobs of paint makes me remember that someone actually painted the thing, rather than just thinking of it in photographic terms. Not in my wildest dreams could I paint an oil painting without some kind of outline or color by numbers kit. Yes, I know that oils are forgiving since they don't dry quickly, but still.

For some reason though, I just cannot get into modern art. Well, let's face it, I just don't like it. I am sure that the artists who create modern art have a wonderful background in art and all that, but why does anyone try to tell me that five stripes of color on a canvas is art? Or a bunch of different colored knotted ropes on the floor? I suppose it could be, but what I am looking for is something that actually requires time and effort, not just a few "fill in" brushstrokes or knowing how to tie a sqare knot.

Don't even get me started on the art assemblages, such as tomato soup cans and video monitor displays that show static and weird laser-looking things on the screens. Is it art, or is it entertainment? Is it art or is it a sly wink to the current values of society? They can be clever, they can be interesting, but I don't look at it and admire the result and wish that I could do that. Because I think I probably could. I may not have had the original "vision" to stack those cans, but give them to me, and I could replicate it.

They say that art is subjective, and so I will say that in my opinion, a lot of modern art isn't really art. I suppose you could say that I think that art is elitist, not populist. I have a very talented artist friend who has a Master's in art, and is a very successful tile muralist. She loves modern art and has for years tried to make me like it too. She gave up.

My litmus test is that if I look at it and think someone under twelve years old could have made it, it ain't really art to me.

1 comment:

Granny said...

Me too. There are a few of the more recent artists I like but for the most part I stop with the impressionists.