Monthly Archives: September 2013

Some Spontaneous Thoughts About Art

For quite some time now, we’ve technically reached a stage whereby absolutely ANYTHING can be designated as “Art.” All historical standards for color, light & shadow, harmony, grace, composition, even disharmony, decomposition, etc, etc, have completely gone out the window. If I’m sufficiently connected in the Art World, I can spit on the floor of the Met, and the curator (in collaboration with the museum’s funders/investors/collectors) will cordon it off and call it a brilliant, and VERY VALUABLE masterpiece.

The way I see it, “Art” began as a “language” based on Nature and reached a certain height during the Italian Renaissance. But when Rembrandt lost his eyesight, and unwittingly started to smudge his brush strokes, he triggered something new—a deviation from what we normally “see” in Nature. Though I doubt they realized it at the time, but by jumping on this “new something,” the French Impressionists created a language that was suddenly no longer based on Nature, but on Man’s intellect. From that point on, Art became a cerebral “argument” that goes something like… “Well, if you can say that, I can say the opposite!” In other words, the Impressionists triggered the Cubists, who triggered the Surrealists, who triggered the Abstract Expressionists, who triggered the Pop movement, which triggered Photo Realism which triggered “Bad” Art, then minimalism, then… ???

It got to the point where only those who had been closely following this conversation from the get go could understand what was being said. Let’s put it this way… imagine being an English-only-speaking person suddenly dropped into the middle of China… or worse yet, into a remote section of China where a rare dialect was spoken. The conversations you would hear would sound like complete gibberish. However, if you’d lived in this remote region all your life, you’d be able to understand the conversation just fine.

However, getting back to the point of spitting on the floor of the Met and calling it Art, i.e. ANYTHING can be designated as “Art,” then what happens to our language… our conversation? It becomes gibberish even for those who’ve been following it closely. Nothing matters, nothing makes sense because EVERYTHING is pre-approved, no matter how absurd! Nonetheless, museum visitors have to rub their chins, and go “ahhh,” pretending they understand because no one wants to look ignorant! And where does that leave us? I think it will inevitably cause a backlash that will lead us back to some standards which, by inherent necessity, are tied in with what we find in Nature. We’ve already started to see this with New Classicism, haven’t we? I suppose the bigger problem is when “Art” becomes more about money and marketing than anything else (“… sufficiently connected… ”). Then, just like commercial foods which are now virtually unfit for human consumption due to pesticides, GMOs, growth hormones, and other additives like high fructose corn syrup and MSG, art becomes not an object of inspiration, but a thing of toxicity.

All this makes me believe that Art must, once again, be about Beauty Based on Nature, and not on Man’s often delusional intellect. That doesn’t mean I’m advocating unprovocative, “pretty pictures.” On the contrary, True Art must Always Inspire something. The question is, how are we going to do it? I’m quite certain I’ll spend the rest of my life searching for an answer.

"Madonna" by Metrov circa 1977

“Madonna” by Metrov circa 1977

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