I don’t claim to be a connoisseur of art. I don’t pretend to know the names of all the great masters and all of their works. I don’t even imagine that I get the nuances and details of art. But I do believe that I have some aesthetic sense and can figure out whether I like what I see or not and whether I would hang it in my living room.
This sense of mine was challenged and stretched to its maximum recently. A few weeks ago I visited the MoMA and yesterday I went to the Guggenheim Museum.
Both these places left me slightly confused (and very tired, but that’s another story).
One part of my brain knew that what I was seeing was some of the best of modern art there is. Another part couldn’t help but point out that most of what I was seeing didn’t seem art enough to be where it was.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not an art philistine. I appreciate a lot of art. I love Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’. I can spend hours looking at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. I even love Pollock’s huge canvases and the supposedly erratic, albeit, hypnotic mesh of colours and lines.
But what I don’t understand are 2 circles on a blank canvas. Or even just a plain single coloured canvas. How about a single dot on a canvas? I know that the meaning of any art lies in its interpretation. But I don’t get how you can interpret a rectangular pink coloured plastic slab. Of course, there must have been one hell of an interpretation for it to get a place against a wall of the MoMA, but even so.
At the Guggenheim a famous artist was being shown. Her initial works (which made her famous) left me looking to my left and right wondering if everyone else is as confused as me. Apparently they were. I was looking at 2 huge wooden spheres and being told it’s a representation of her father!
So, I may not understand great art. I may not know how old Picasso was when he painted Woman with Guitar (any of the versions). I may not even be able to explain why I like certain paintings more than others. But I do know that pieces of paper coloured single colours using felt pens cannot be considered art. Unless they were done by a toddler.
Note: Bored Mind. Long Rant. Please spare the art interpretations.
Note 2: I love MoMA. Most of the work in there is pretty fabulous. Has to be my favourite museum (even more than dino bones!)