Coming soon, a blog about modern art and how to see it at museums. See what the experts have to say.
Article 1: “A Lot of Art Is Pretty, but Very Little Is Beautiful”
Article 2: “A Good Way to See a Lot of Art is to Walk Around”
Article 3: “A Good Way to See a Lot of Art is to Walk Around”
Article 4: “A Good Way to See a Lot of Art is to Walk Around”
Article 5: “A Good Way to See a Lot of Art is to Walk Around”
Article 6: “A Good Way to See a Lot of Art is to Walk Around”
Article 7: “A Good Way to See a Lot of Art is to Walk Around”
Article 8: “A Good Way to See a Lot of Art is to Walk Around”
Article 9: “A Good Way to See a Lot of Art is to Walk Around”
Artists, explain your work in the comments section.
What is the definition of modern art? There are many different viewpoints and so many definitions that it becomes a lot like asking what is the definition of pornography.
Art has been around for a long time, and yet each generation seems to invent it again for itself. The feeling I get across many of these pieces is that they’re kind of like the “Dada” art early in the 1900’s. It’s as if someone decided to take all the rules of art and turn them on their heads or turn them upside down to see what happens. To me, these things look like an artist trying to make something out of nothing, almost as if they’re trying to create an illusion of depth in order to make the piece appear more interesting. I suppose there is some sort of artistic value here, but after a while all this stuff just looks like someone throwing paint at a canvas and hoping it works out well.
This stuff is really hard for me to explain, mostly because I have no clue what the artist’s intent was with each piece. I can only guess that there might be some sort of underlying message or meaning behind each display of artwork. If there was any sort of meaning behind these pieces then it was lost on me, but that’s okay because I’m sure
The definition of modern art is a puzzle. Every time you look at a piece of modern art, you are confronted with the question: What is the definition of modern art?
This might be an important question to ask, but it is not one that can be answered in any straightforward way.
Any attempt to answer this question would probably involve looking at every other artwork and asking: What makes this piece of art modern? And then: What makes it different from all the other pieces of art that are not modern?
The answer to that question, if there is one, might be called the definition of modern art. There are several possible answers to this question, at least one of which will probably strike most people as correct. But there is no reason an answer should strike anyone as correct, or even make sense.
**Artwork by Cézanne**
The foyer of the museum is a great place to meet people who are visiting the museum for the first time. They are there to go to the museum and they are looking around and wondering what it is all about. They have never been to the museum before and have no idea what it is all about, so you can tell them anything you want. It is a bit like coming into their home and telling them why they should be interested in the family photo album or their grandmother’s teapot collection.
Telling people that modern art is worth looking at because it is fun or amusing or weird, or any of those other things modern artists want us to think it is, will not convince them that they should spend their time looking at it. They know already that it looks weird and funny. But if you tell them how modern art got its meaning in history, then you can explain how the meaning of modern art relates to your personal life.
I have to admit that I find it difficult to describe what I like about modern art. Why am I so wowed by it? What makes me want to stare at it and walk around it and then stare at it some more? Maybe there is no one thing, but rather, a whole bunch of things that go together.
Trying to figure out how to explain my feelings about modern art has made me think about the way we look at paintings in general. There are a lot of different elements that make up how we experience something visually.
What I am going to talk about is not always true for other types of art, such as architecture or sculpture or decorative arts. But for paintings, these are some of the reasons why I like looking at them:
The colors are beautiful. Modern artists use colors in ways rarely seen before in Western painting. They also use unusual color combinations, which can seem jarring and shocking when first seen. The colors remind me of the preciousness of such things as nature and life, yet they also lead us into the depths of our own souls.
I love the emotions that are expressed by the shapes and colors on the canvas. The way an artist uses lines and shapes can make us feel something beyond what we see there on the
The art world has been turned upside down. In the past, straight men dressed in suits and took their dates to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for a nice evening. They would look at the art and discuss it. Nowadays, gay men in skinny jeans wear makeup and take pills to maintain erections. They go to MoMA and have sex in the bathrooms while they look at the art, then discuss it over dinner.
The reason that modern art is so important is because it dominates what people wear, what they buy, and what they do on weekends. By my calculations, this makes modern art more important than the economy or health care. The only thing more important than modern art is celebrities’ gossip about their love lives.**
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“Everything is art. Everything is politics.” This sounds like a mantra of the contemporary museum. It’s what I was taught in graduate school, and it’s the gospel of the curatorial assistants who roam the galleries armed with clipboards and checklists, assigning artworks to categories on their iPads.
The idea that art inevitably reflects its time has been around for a long time. In his influential book The Origin of Christian Art (1921), Ernst Kitzinger argued that Byzantine art was religious in character because people in late antiquity were pious, while medieval art was superstitious because people then were credulous. In his classic work The Art-Work of the Future (1932), Adolf Hitler argued that modernism was superior because it reflected not only its own time but also “the age-old struggle between Aryan and Jew.”
In a new blog post at Aeon magazine, Michael Baxandall takes issue with the idea that an artwork belongs to its own time. “Artists are not mere scientists,” he writes; they make their choices with deliberation and forethought: “They could have done otherwise.” So when we say that a work of art is “a product of its time”, we mean instead that it embodies certain ideas about what makes art