I don't get art.
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Thread: I don't get art.

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    I don't get art.

    I don't get why some (dead) artists are so highly respected. I'm talking about the one's like Piet Mondrian. Google some of his paintings.



    I don't understand what is so great about this. I have an art historyish class, and the first day gave me a weird impression of it. The class is going to analyze works of art... an example was a stoplight sculpture, this one to be exact:



    The class was asked to analyze it. "Loren, what do you think of it?" "I think it symbolized time!" "Good job Loren, you get an A+".

    And that's the impression the class gave me. I'm trying to look at this with an open mind, but I just don't see the point of this.

    Back to paintings/Piet

    Now the Piet Modrian paintings, I don't see what is so great about them. It's just straight lines and squares, that's all. When I think of drawings and paintings, I prefer realistic ones, and by realistic I don't mean that is has to be true to life, a guy wielding an 800 pound sword if fine by me. By realistic, I mean that the lighting, the reflections, and the shadows are all believable, and that you can make out what the subject is.

    But with this... straight lines and squares, I can't point my finger about what's so great. Is it the colors? Because there's very few.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyerOrdStar View Post
    Why can't three colours be beautiful?
    I'd say because they don't represent anything. I kind of have a small bias where I say a painting HAS to have some kind of subject, person, scene, concept, or I tend to just flat out reject it.

    Maybe I just try to be a perfectionist so I see it that way?

    This reminds me of a time I went to a modern art museum and I saw a painting of a plus sign, just a black "+" in the center of the canvas. I didn't like anything I saw in the museum. How does putting a plus sign in black paint make you a great famous artist? Anyone can do that.

    Edit: I came out of the museum with the mindset that everything in there was bullshit.

    I guess it also has to do with that I think art = skill, and those two paintings don't really look like it.

    I still fail to see why these get so much attention (not the sculpture, the paintings)

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    Money + hype.

    Last edited by Hyskoa; January 29th, 2009 at 05:05 PM.
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    Most of those artist are populair not because they made pretty pictures but because they were key figures within an art movement or because their art was considered revolutionary (at the time).

    Also keep in mind that alot of modern day art is not ment to be of pure aestetic quality, the concept (idea) is usually the most important element.
    I think most art in galleries these days is more intelectual then emotional. You're supposed to look at it by pondering about it so to speak.

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    If I were you hippl5 I would read some book about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hippl5 View Post
    I don't get why some (dead) artists are so highly respected. I'm talking about the one's like Piet Mondrian. Google some of his paintings.

    So you like this better?



    I read Mr. Giancola is a fan of Mondrians. In any case the research that guy put into his compositions give me mad respect for that guy. As an Illustrator a lot of what you do is profite from the work people like Modrian and others have done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rubbadub View Post
    Most of those artist are populair not because they made pretty pictures but because they were key figures within an art movement or because their art was considered revolutionary (at the time).

    Also keep in mind that alot of modern day art is not ment to be of pure aestetic quality, the concept (idea) is usually the most important element.
    I think most art in galleries these days is more intelectual then emotional. You're supposed to look at it by pondering about it so to speak.


    Modern art... like this one I googled?



    What is so intellectual about this? It looks like a multi-colored dog turd.

    There's so much talent here on CA. Why don't all the zombies, robots, environments, CHOWs deserve to be in a museum? I think anything in the finally finished section beats a modern art museum.

    All it looks like is someone drew a strange shape, loaded it up with squares, and put different colors and calls it art. Lots of people here could do better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Faust~ View Post
    So you like this better?

    I read Mr. Giancola is a fan of Mondrians. In any case the research that guy put into his compositions give me mad respect for that guy. As an Illustrator a lot of what you do is profite from the work people like Modrian and others have done.
    Yes, I like that one. But I don't see the connection between that and Mondrian's work.

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    Yes, I like that one. But I don't see the connection between that and Mondrian's work.
    What about composition?

    You gotta realise that art extended to many other areas like architecture, graphical or industrial design. Beacause it's abstract you can apply Mondrian's principles, aesthetics, composition to anything.
    For example the style inspired dutch architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld to build this:



    Last edited by Farvus; January 29th, 2009 at 05:50 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippl5 View Post
    Yes, I like that one. But I don't see the connection between that and Mondrian's work.
    Well, I see it like that, Mondriaan had some serious thoughts about how composition could work based on a lot of drawings he did from nature like trees, houses and so on. There he formulated some guidelines on how to obtain a balanced distribution of those shapes in primary color and orthogonal lines, while being assymmetrical and decentral, something which is not an easy task. Of course he also thought up some spiritual stuff about harmony and balance in the universe blablabla but Newton also was a spiritual nutjob thinking that 2 Onjects that are not touching could be somehow stand in relation to each other, the blasphemy! You think Newton was an idiot, because he couldn't build a space-ship?

    Anyways wether or not you like those ideas, the fact that this instrument was introduced to take up into your repertoire as an artist should really count something imho. Much like the invention of 2-point-perspective or the use of the outline in a painting.

    I'm an art-history-aliteral so I'm not the one to make such a speech, but at least I think Mondriaan also had some decent observation-skills, so you should be aware that he was making this stuff up intentionally:



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    I'll choose representational over abstract in most cases, but a composition or colour combination can be decorative in it's own right.

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    If art were only one thing, no change would occur.

    I remember when I didn't get the whole 'dot in the middle of the canvase' thing, but on hindsight, it was my lack of study and more about what pleased me that influenced my opinion.

    It's changed as my studies became more expansive. The original painting posted has its own interesting balance to it & would add an interesting element if it were added to the decor of an art deco space.

    Each form of art has its place.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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    Don't get me wrong, I think that there is a ton of severely over-hyped and insanely pompous art out there, a good portion of it from the last 100 years where idea, intent, and concept over technical ability became commercially viable (and therefore exploited to no end). Beyond that, there's no accounting for taste and just because I like a certain thing doesn't make it "valid" or "good" any more than my not liking something makes is "bad" or "false".

    That said, I actually do like the two examples you posted. I think Mondrian can teach us all a great deal about composition, shape, etc. The pictures he made, to me, are aesthetically pleasing, despite (as well as because of) their simplicity and abstract nature and I think that's something worth taking note of. The stoplights, I just think they look cool. To ask "what do you think of it?" is a fair enough question, but there's also no right or wrong answer. It's interpretation, personal reactions will vary. The nature of the question is opinion.

    But that's the thing about any artwork you could post here. Nobody will be right or wrong to say what they think of it. And nobody can convince you that you should like or dislike it. They can educate you as to why it's historically important, what the artist hoped to achieve, etc. but the bottom line is that if you enjoy looking at it or thinking about it, then you like it. If you don't, then move on to the next one.

    That's how I look at it

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    I agree, and often find myself completely unenthused by modern day "art." I have a professor who hangs plain white t-shirts on a wall, nothing special at all about them, just attaches the clothes hanger with the shirts to a wall and it gets displayed in a gallery. Now, this isn't colored dog poop, but it seems to be just as mindless.

    In general the modern "artists" I know have an equally low appreciation for the more story-driven, realistic, and conceptual art that we enjoy. Is it because they know they can't do it, and thus don't care? Or are they above it?

    Maybe I'm just lacking something as an artist, and therefore am unable to comprehend the greatness of such art.

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    I like the tree. Don't let that discourage you from looking at modern art. Yeah, that LOreal pic sucks and so does Matisse and alot of crap pieces art teachers enjoy. Just soldier through it, tell your teacher what he wants to hear so you can be a good little make no waves rebel that fits in with all the other special unique artists and get a good grade. Learn to lie! It's one of the greatest skills to master.

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    I read what a few of you have said, and I have more respect for Mondrian, since his early works weren't so abstract.

    I guess he wasn't exactly the best example in my first post, but I really don't like modern art. I get the impression that today, museums take shit smeared on a canvas for display, yet ignore stuff like on CA.

    @ kek: the last thing you said,
    "Maybe I'm just lacking something as an artist, and therefore am unable to comprehend the greatness of such art."

    That's exactly what was on my mind when I made this thread, I just wasn't able to put it that way.

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    I think modern art is fun and I especially love interactive installations. It's just most teachers are boring as hell or they have to make thei class fit in or w/e. I'm sure if you have a good modern art museum in your city and you just ignore all the hype, you'll find something to enjoy.

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    There is no doubt alot of bad workmanship passed of as "modern art", but what is modern art? The term means nothing, most of the styles labeled "modern" were invented 100 years ago... Putting labels on art is idiotic, it will always fail, these things are subjective to each and every observer.

    The artists you mention that are highly regarded are often so not because they are "skilled" in the traditional sense (even though I am sure most of them could paint or draw figuratively if they wanted to), but because they had artistic vision.

    Everyone can learn to draw or paint what they see, it takes time, it takes effort, as we all know very well. Everyone cannot, however, create art that reaches out and influences people. That is reserved for a few great minds, who dare to speak up against the grain. Some of these artists' work may seem trivial today, we may take it for granted, because we've seen it before.

    Mondrian did these paintings 100-60 years ago, when his work was seen as daring, controversial... exploring ideas that were 100% new at the time, inspiring artists to think outside of the box and stepping away from being simply people who could draw what they saw. These artists were often mocked in their own time and not understood or accepted for years, or decades...

    Without these pioneers, art would still be a field of observation, not imagination.

    Edit: also, saying another artist's work is "shit" does not make you look good...

    Last edited by kab; January 29th, 2009 at 06:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farvus View Post
    What about composition?

    You gotta realise that art extended to many other areas like architecture, graphical or industrial design. Beacause it's abstract you can apply Mondrian's principles aesthetics, composition to anything.
    Agreed. I used to dismiss modern art as pretentious crap from a bunch of no-talents who couldn't draw. Then I became a graphics/web designer. Learning various design principles and how they apply to so much of what we create in all sorts of fields made me appreciate modern art. There are a lot of underlying design principles and those can make the difference even when applied to realism.

    I also think realism is "easy" from a viewer perspective. You don't have to think about it to get it. But the more abstract the art, the more is required from the viewer. Sometimes it is not easy. But in the case of Mondrian, it's an exploration of composition and design. Not too hard, imho.

    That said, I think there is a lot of bad modern art of there and art where the ultimate meaning is either so obtuse or perhaps lacking to begin with.

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    What Dave said.

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    Some could argue that Mondrians work in respect could be somewhat representational. Some say Mondrian was highly influenced by what he saw in everyday life, that being the grid like structure of a city. Squint really hard and these grid like structures start to loose there detail and become blurred, in result all we see is the form. Also look at Mondrians work titled, "Broadway Boogie Woogie". This work represents that feeling of movement and the beautiful rhythm that coincides with it, Mondrian loved the city life, loved jazz and music and of course the dancing that went along with it. Sometimes we need to understand the artist to understand how their work makes sense, when we investigate deeper into art we learn more about it, sometimes this turns our minds on and inspires us to do something amazing, or sometimes we still may dismiss it as non-influential art. When I first saw Mondrians work I was confused, when I started to understand his work I gained a stronger respect. Is his work visually appealing... some may debate, but is it conceptually appealing... yes I believe so.

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    The thing about Mondrian, is that doesn't he go a little overboard with these? Maybe one painting of this type isn't so bad, but doesn't he have around 20+ of nothing but Red, Yellow, Blue, and black lines? It starts to get repetitive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hippl5 View Post
    Modern art... like this one I googled?



    What is so intellectual about this? It looks like a multi-colored dog turd.
    I disagree. I actually find it somewhat calming and soothing, although I don't agree 100% with the colour choices.

    That said, it's an exploration of design, composition and colour. And those principles explored in such a piece can be applied to many other things.

    Try this. Look at something that has been designed. It could be a web page, ad in a magazine, movie poster, anything. Then defocus/blur your eyes until you can no longer recognize the discrete elements, but rather just the overall forms. Pay attention to the location of different shapes, forms, colours, etc. Ultimately, depending on what you are viewing, you may start to see the underlying design aesthetic. See how things relate to each other. How certain colours play off each other or certain elements line up. Stuff like the piece above are no different. Just without the text, pictures and so on that pervades so much of what we see.


    There's so much talent here on CA. Why don't all the zombies, robots, environments, CHOWs deserve to be in a museum? I think anything in the finally finished section beats a modern art museum.
    On the one hand I agree that modern illustration doesn't get quite the respect it deserves. On the other hand, a lot of it, even the really good stuff, is just a rehashing of art styles and movements that have already come and gone.

    For example, take neoclassical realism (i.e. stuff by Jacques-Louis David, etc) and compare it to pieces on this forums. You'll see a lot of similarities. But instead of historical figures or set pieces, you've got science fiction themes and fantasy warriors. It's basically the same stuff just with modern ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hippl5 View Post
    The thing about Mondrian, is that doesn't he go a little overboard with these? Maybe one painting of this type isn't so bad, but doesn't he have around 20+ of nothing but Red, Yellow, Blue, and black lines? It starts to get repetitive.
    As a meager artist just starting out, I'd say he was experimenting. He was trying out different compositions and manipulating movement within the frame. Just like some artists will work on a theme over and over again (there's another thread about this in this same forum). For example, my sketchbook is filled with the same face, over and over again, from different angles, with different shading and composition. Right now I'm trying to master the 3/4 profile using my husband as the model.

    Hope that made sense :/

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    It's called being thorough, perhaps he felt that his ideas and principles could not be represented by one simple painting, he was unable to define them within a single frame and needed to explore further. Some images are only meant to be understood in context.

    As Farvus said early on, perhaps read a book on an artist.

    If you feel you don't understand something, you often have two choices, dismissing it or putting more effort into understanding it. If you feel you don't understand a type of art (such as Piet Mondrian's work, or non-representational art in general), try to look beyond, if possible pick up a biography, try to understand what was the artist's motivation and inspiration. More often than not, you will find this broadens your horizon, opening you up to new and different impulses and input. Never a bad thing.

    There are times when you are right to dismiss art as junk, but I think you'll find those cases to be very rare, especially if you are studying art history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hippl5 View Post
    The thing about Mondrian, is that doesn't he go a little overboard with these? Maybe one painting of this type isn't so bad, but doesn't he have around 20+ of nothing but Red, Yellow, Blue, and black lines? It starts to get repetitive.
    s' funny. I started another thread recently complaining that all Luis Royo paints these days are grungy hot women with weird piercings/tattoos.

    When you're exploring a concept or idea, typically you don't limit yourself to just one go.

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    i'll take a different approach at this.

    y'know how you listen to some songs that are just catchty and dumb, but you still like them because they fit your mood at the moment? deep down you know those songs wont be on your playlist in 20 years, and you'll just kind of move on to something else right?

    ...but you also have those songs that will always be there, that no matter what shit life throws at you you have those songs to fall back on because they have stood the test of time like a motherfucker. the boy or girl leaves you, or you get fired from your job, what CD do you throw in?

    visual art is like this as well.

    you can find some really neat looking stuff all over this site, in magazines, on posters etc, and it may be your wallpaper for a a few months or you might take a picture of it with your camera phone. you wont remember those images in 20 years.

    you see a mondrian, you'll know it.
    you may not like it, you may not agree with it or buy into it, but you will know it.

    mondrian is the helvetica of design,
    he is the bauhaus of composition,
    he is the rothko of color.

    ...did your teacher lecture about the similarities between the two images you posted? there are parallels dealing with metropolitain structure.

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    Grief, you are my hero :p

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    To follow up on what Pitabread was saying about graphic design and what grief just said about metropolitan structure I'd just like to remind everyone of that opening sequence to North by Northwest designed by graphic designer Saul Bass. If you've never seen the opening credits for this movie then you are missing out on a very interesting showing of where abstract can meet representational in conveying ideas.
    Name:  north_by_northwest.jpg
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    There are uses for the knowledge this kind of experimentation can bring us. Like Dave said, though, if it doesn't work for you then you can always move on to the next picture.

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