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Thread: I don't get art.

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    "Abstract art: A product of the untalented, sold by the unprincipled to the utterly bewildered" - Albert Camus

    Always one of my favorite quotes, even though I don't necessarily agree with it 100%. I understand the design behind some of this kind of art, but it does not appeal to me in the least bit...and I think most people that claim to be into this kind of stuff as deep as they seem are mostly full of shit.

    -D

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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.
    What pitabread said. Also, keep in mind that Mondrian didn't have access to Illustrator and an inkjet printer. They're actually quite well crafted despite their simplicity. It's more challenging than you might think to make lines and edges in oil as clean as Mondrian did.

    Here's the real reason you should like Mondrian: you can rearrange the letters in his full name, Piet Mondrian, to "I Paint Modern".

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    Grief: That post hit my mind well, I never really put art into the perspective of music as you stated, I've had tons of songs that when played truly mean something to me and bring back memories, emotions, experiences etc... As I think about it I think about going to museums and running to a work of art when I catch a glimpse of something astounding... van gogh, mondrian, degas, sargent, lautrec, monet, pollock, braque, picasso etc you all know those artists whose work you instantly recognize. It's like running for candy when your a little kid, we light up with enjoyment, we see something that we know has made a difference and that stands out on its own... and we love it and we cant take our eyes off it. That to me is great art, its when something miraculous happens within your mind, and you think something about this is going to change me or change how I think about not only my creation of art but also maybe something within my life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dose View Post
    Here's the real reason you should like Mondrian: you can rearrange the letters in his full name, Piet Mondrian, to "I Paint Modern".
    i made tin porn
    aint dime porn
    point in dream
    i'm pin toe nard
    dr in main poet
    i mop tard nine
    i man raped on it
    nor pie damnit

    [edit] pint nerd moai

    Last edited by Grief; January 30th, 2009 at 06:32 AM.
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    Piet Mondrian -> Mn Paint or die

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farvus View Post
    If I were you hippl5 I would read some book about it.
    That might help, but why should anyone have to read a book to appreciate art? People don't need to read a book to appreciate Norman Rockwell, Waterhouse, or Sargent.

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    a lot of art has an idea, a notion, a revolution, an emotion, etc, to back it up, not just skill or talent

    ideals of what art is has changed, here on CA.org, we are visual communicators, not necessarily revolution communicators.

    make sense to anyone?

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    That might help, but why should anyone have to read a book to appreciate art? People don't need to read a book to appreciate Norman Rockwell, Waterhouse, or Sargent.
    They sometimes need a book to understand it. Understand and appreciate are two different things. In case of modern art unless something is pure aesthetics it's sometimes good to understand the concept so you that you can fully appreciate it. Does that makes sense?

    EDIT: Or I'll put it the other way. The goal of this art is not neccesarily to make someone appreciate it.

    Last edited by Farvus; January 29th, 2009 at 10:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dose View Post
    It's more challenging than you might think to make lines and edges in oil as clean as Mondrian did.
    Tape?

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    i feel i have to weigh in on this, as i too hate high faluten artwork that looks like bird poop, like pollock, and whoever did those stupid tribute to the squares.

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    Quote Originally Posted by riceface View Post
    i feel i have to weigh in on this, as i too hate high faluten artwork that looks like bird poop, like pollock, and whoever did those stupid tribute to the squares.
    You sure hate a lot.
    Said it once, and I'll say it again.
    You really should stop talking and listen for awhile.

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    a lot of modern art is very meh, like that traffic light sculpture...boring.

    i personally like those mondrian compositions though, they are simple and elegant. its like... i can make this block blue and make this one red over here and the others are empty but it looks good that way! its speaks about composition and beauty in deliberate simplicity.

    reminds me of when i heard metal guitarists complaining about nirvana being so easy to play. it was the composition of kurt cobains music, and how his voice sounded that made it so good...not the technical difficulty.

    the traffic lights are just some random obscure statement and ugly and boring. is it about how confusing modern society can be? even if it is, who cares about such a cliche message? not i!

    good art looks nice and/or is interesting to the person viewing it. it doesnt have to have a profound message.


    edit: and reading about art is incredibly boring. i can barely stand reading the little blurbs by the side of paintings at gallerys. if i dont like something i usally dont bother trying to convince myself to.

    Last edited by lumar; January 30th, 2009 at 03:43 AM.
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    I really didn't like Mondrian when presented with a piece like the one you posted at the beginning of this thread. That is untill i ofund a book in the Library about his whole lifes work. Too many a time we only remember the last images an artist produces, all too often these require an under standing of of their previous work to be apreciated fully. Mondrian is a perfect example of this. His very early paintings are beuatiful in colour and composition. He then got obsesses with the pattern of negative space. Looks at some of his paintings of trees, In this we see the first steps to him simplifiying the world around him to a point of lines and colour, With no context

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    That might help, but why should anyone have to read a book to appreciate art? People don't need to read a book to appreciate Norman Rockwell, Waterhouse, or Sargent.
    Because different kind of expressions require different things from the viewer/reader/listener. To give a rough example: it doesn't take much effort to understand a Stephen King book, but you may need some more effort to get a Nietzsche one. That doesn't make one more or less valid than the other.

    About the OT: There's tons of shitty non-representational art. There's also TONS of shitty representational art (which most posters here seem to forget about). That's just the way it is!

    It's easier to feel emotionally connected to representational art because you can identify yourself, you can have a pretty straight interpretation out of it, and it's less ambiguous. Ambiguity usually makes us uncomfortable. We want to "get" it when we see it. We want to know what it means when we see it. We want answers.

    And for the most part, what non-representational art gives us are questions.

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    some of it is shit, some of it aint.
    Heywait.... I just phrased everything in life and nature.

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    ok here are my two cents.

    i've been in a similar place as hippl5 recently, especially with his problems towards the instalation part of modern art, but i'm not anymore. and here is why:
    the term "modern art" for me is realy a misnomer. because we use "art" to describe everything from the cave pantings of Lascaux to instalations like the one shown by hippl5.
    i think, however, that modern art is in fact not art, but philosophie, which was called art, because it was the expression of philosophical ideas, not by words, but by pictures, or later instalations, videos etc, stared by painters. the tradition of people like michelangelo, rubens, vermeer etc. however lives, for me, in, what we today, call illustration.

    of course there are "good" and "bad" artists/philosphers in both fields. (a "bad artist/philosopher" being one, who doesn't care as much about what he's doing, but how to earn mony with it), but that is beside the point.

    hope that gives some some of you something to work with, and also that it's understandable (english is not my first language so if there's anything unclear, don't hesitate to ask, i'll do my best.)

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    Astract art is like a song without words.
    Naturalism without design, is just words. Journalism.
    So I ask you, when does picture making become poetry?

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    When It's got rythm, I suppose.

    Toss in a little alliteration and symbolism, and your simple expository passage has become lyrical.

    I like the lights. I would own that if I had the space and money. I can't figure out why that piece sucks, when everybody thinks it's great to kill a pine tree and hang lights all over it in your living room. I bet it has something to do with symbolism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Semphora View Post
    i think, however, that modern art is in fact not art, but philosophie
    I have actually thought the same thing. I believe a lot of "modern art" should instead be called something like "Perceptual Philosophy".

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    One thing that strikes me about this thread is the number of people who are essentially saying they are immediately turned off by something that doesn't instantly make sense to them. This is intellectual laziness of the highest order. "Why doesn't it appeal to my infantile desire to smash my enemies and have sexy ladies fawn over me!" Seriously guys, sometimes things take a little work to understand, and if you're not willing to commit that mental work I'd say there's probably a lot of other things in life your missing out on because you're simply too lazy to take the time to understand them. You can hardly blame the artist for not understanding his intent when you refuse to read accompanying materials or familiarize yourself with the context of the work. I think a lot of the confusion comes from the fact that this is an illustration centric site, and illustration is story telling, so it needs to make sense immediately on viewing, but illustration ain't the sole purpose of art.

    Also, there's this obsession with skill of execution. Sure, a nicely made thing is enjoyable to look at, but that's not the only measure of it's value. It's not a dick measuring contest. Who the fuck cares if Mondrian used tape to get straight lines with clean edges? That's so far from the point of his work it doesn't even rate as criticism. "Yeah, that piece you did was pretty interesting, but you made it in Photoshop so I don't really consider it art" Rodin really should've made his sculptures from carbon-fiber laminate, clay and bronze are so boring right?

    Admittedly Mondrian's work can be a bit dry. Like reading a book on epistemology. That doesn't void it of value, it just means it wasn't meant purely to tickle your giggle bits. I actually like that stoplight sculpture. Is the concept of stoplights representing control in an urbanized world and the proliferation of them representing the explosion of control in our lives from faceless authority cliche? Sure...I guess, but fuck cliches. What's cliche now will be kitsch in 10 years. Not doing something you sincerely enjoy, like, or think is interesting because it's "cliche" is the same thing as doing something because everyone else thinks it's cool. It's allowing other peoples judgment of an idea dictate your action.

    Some less "dry" non representational guys to check out.
    The sculpture is by Noam Gabo, and the paintings by Frantisek Kupka, and to silence the baseless accusation that an abstract painter does what they do because they can't draw I've included on of his realistic pieces...Kupka was actually a well renowned illustrator prior to embarking on his abstractionist paintings. It actually really bugs me that this guy isn't very well known. He was one of the original people to leap into non-representational painting, and I think he did it with more intensity than comes across from Kandinsky.

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    One thing that strikes me about this thread is the number of people who are essentially saying they are immediately turned off by something that doesn't instantly make sense to them. This is intellectual laziness of the highest order. "Why doesn't it appeal to my infantile desire to smash my enemies and have sexy ladies fawn over me!" Seriously guys, sometimes things take a little work to understand, and if you're not willing to commit that mental work I'd say there's probably a lot of other things in life your missing out on because you're simply too lazy to take the time to understand them. You can hardly blame the artist for not understanding his intent when you refuse to read accompanying materials or familiarize yourself with the context of the work. I think a lot of the confusion comes from the fact that this is an illustration centric site, and illustration is story telling, so it needs to make sense immediately on viewing, but illustration ain't the sole purpose of art.
    This.


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    Just to add a bit to this. So far everyone either thinks Mondrian is boring or a great compositional artist. Remember this. Mondrian was a European artist who moved to America when the Nazi's came to power, and painted his work all through WWII. As far as I remember from Gombrich, the goal of Mondrian's work was to create on canvas what he couldn't in real life - a perfect, harmonious, and spiritual world.

    Now do you appreciate it?

    And the reasons he painted more than one?
    1. It takes more than one work to fully explore an idea.
    2. It makes it harder to destroy the work when there are 20 or more spread around the world.

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    Most people look at art only to see what its a picture of and think that the experience stops there. There is either a mistrust of the subconscious, right brain response to purely formal effects or the onlooker has no 'feel' for them. People who habitually say they don't understand abstract art have no problem seeing if the drapes are not working with the sofa for example.

    Take Michelangeo's David; the general experience is 'sexy young man made of rock and must have taken a long time to do'. A post modern frame of reference would see it as a concept; a stone man, and would see the idea also manifest in a concrete garden knome with no real difference other than unecessary skill involved with the David.

    What each view fails to see is the marriage of abstract, formal relationships to a spiritual or 'dramatic' idea. The frozen music of forms, one segueing into another to instill a plastic, visceral experience of relationships between direction, weight, volume, rhythm, so that it forms a sort of imaginary momentum by design. An imaginary momentum by design built upon an idea, be it literary (Dean Cornwell), spiritual (Michelangelo) or formal (Mondrian).

    Abstract art is the 'language' of art, it is its words and grammer and it is an understanding of it that makes all the great artists and also the not so great....able to speak.

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    If you were criticising the lack of explanation for an artists work, I'd agree with you. I think that too many (contemporary, at least) artists make art unnecisarily "difficult" and thus inaccessible by not explaining themselves. One has to study art history and theory to make any sense of it all... The irony is that some of the more "difficult" art has been created as an attempt to make art accessible to the masses.

    I can recommend reading the "A Very Short Introduction to..." books on "Art History" and "Art Theory" as a first step to understanding art and why it likes to be so difficult.

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    Piet Mondrian reminds me of when I was young and would mess around in MS Paint using the line and paint bucket tools. It's funny that I would play with making nice pictures out of lines and shapes and then grow up to hate Mondrian for making pictures out of lines and shapes.

    This thread is an eye-opener, and if I reread it again I may even come to appreciate Barnett Newman.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtonw View Post
    This thread is an eye-opener, and if I reread it again I may even come to appreciate Barnett Newman.

    [Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III]
    ah yes Barnett Newman, his works are of such a scale they can physically hurt to look at, they are simply so vibrant and saturated it can be difficult on your eyes. interesting contrast i reckon' that the moma places his Vir Heroicus Sublimis opposite of Mark Rothko.

    its engrossing to look at, as there are thin lines which draw your eyes inward, yet you almost want to reject it on a visceral level because its so damn dense with color, you want to turn away to give your eyes rest. and if you do turn away you find rothko perfectly opposite until you can gather your strenth to delve back into newman. i'm standing there having a mind meltdown from the tension of color theory forces at play on opposite ends of the room, and somewhere back in reality a snotty man not much older than myself says "if theyre going to use such a big room for these pieces of shit they might as well put more seating in here."

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    I’m a big fan of Bridget Riley, even if some of her work has been overdone in other mediums.

    Take Kiss, the title is all you need to explain the work. That there is a tiny separation just shows the softness of the kiss. Any larger or lesser separation would be harsh.

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    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtonw View Post
    Piet Mondrian reminds me of when I was young and would mess around in MS Paint using the line and paint bucket tools. It's funny that I would play with making nice pictures out of lines and shapes and then grow up to hate Mondrian for making pictures out of lines and shapes.

    This thread is an eye-opener, and if I reread it again I may even come to appreciate Barnett Newman.

    Big color field pieces like that loose ALOT in not seeing them in person. I think that's another reason there's so much hating on non-representational painting, particularly the color field stuff. Oftentimes there's issues of scale and texture, and subtleties of color that are impossible to convey in even a nice color photo, never mind a black and white postage stamp sized reproduction in an modern art survey book.

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    too many (contemporary, at least) artists make art unnecisarily "difficult" and thus inaccessible by not explaining themselves
    it's been more my experience that they spend too much time writing statements and thesis instead of making art, or at least that's the sort that tends to get a little under my skin...

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    Saying that someone who doesn't strive to understand modern art is missing out on life seems a bit...wrong. I actually like looking at different things in the world and trying to understand them. Quantum suicide? Beautiful. Social problems? Good times. World cultures? Much fun. The beauty and quarks of the universe, advancement though the ages, myths and legends...all good stuff. Absolutely no interest in trying to understand modern art though. Really, it doesn't even draw my eye. Although that might be because I associate an extremely elitist attitude of "you don't speak my language, your nothing but a dirty whelp" (and that's being kind) to anyone who isn't in the club.

    Actually, I liked Mondrians work better when I saw it on a plastic cup then I did when I saw one of his paintings on a wall. *shrug*

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