Is modern art just crap ? Well some people think so. A friend of mine posted the following video on Facebook and asked me what I thought. The video it turns out has a been called “infamous” and has been parodied.
I replied to him “When ur sitting opposite your girlfriend at dinner and you want to record the event, do you 1) Get your canvas and oil paint out, and start painting ? or 2) Whip out your mobile and take a picture ?”
Art had always been about communication and recording history – cave paintings, hieroglyphics, the designs of Da Vinci, religious paintings, portraits of people, battle scenes, etc. These artists, back then, studied hard and learnt the techniques, they didn’t have internet or TV to distract them, they didn’t have a mortgage, they lived for the art. And they achieved a high level of technical skills.
The last hundred years since the birth of telephones, TV, newspapers, photography, the internet, there is a whole lot of easier methods to communicate and record history, that don’t require a lifetime of mastering technique.
Modern art is reflecting society. The last hundred years artists have been more about self expression, communication of more abstract ideas, they tend to explore modern materials, in that way the old masters explored the full possibility of oil paint. The surrealist movement, particular Salvador Dalí, had tremendous technique, and at a time when photography was available, they created paintings that couldn’t be created by photographic techniques.
They is still technique in modern art, theres still skill, but just because it looks different. It is a reflection of modern society. Take a basic need like the ability to feed yourself, do u go out hunting for meat, butcher it, do you spend years learning to cook it propely ? Could you cook a 5 course dinner, without going to the supermarket ? I doubt it. You may even resort to going to Mc.D’s .
A lot of modern art is about the concept rather than the execution – We all buy based on a concept but with the expectation that it will satisfy us. We have a concept that Mc.D’s will curb our hunger, and its easier than going to out and killing an cow. We buy into the concept, and if our expectations are met, we leave Mc.Ds happy, if a little bloated. But is Mc.D’s a well executed meal ? did the guy who flipped the burger train for years ? Was the meat killed that morning by the staff ? Of course not, but do you really care at 3am when your drunk and hungry ?
Thats not to say we should buy into mass produced art from a chain of Swedish furniture shops, because like Mc.D’s, the satisfaction last a few hours only. And in the back of our head we have the knowledge that millions of other people have the same reprint hanging on their wall.
Many artists today are not “Old Masters” but thats because society has little need for portrait painters anymore, and we live in demanding age its about quick results with minimal effort. An artist could take a photo in the morning, run it through a photoshop filter, and have it printed on canvas by lunchtime Or could wake up in the morning paint something in acrylic paint and it be dry by lunchtime. But if that image moved you, made you think, changed your viewpoint, communicated something personal to you, then the artists job is done.
The Artists skill is in creating that image, regardless of how it is executed.
But I leave you with this video, from another Brit guy…
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