The Official Modern/Contemporary Art Thread
I think we need a place to discuss modern and contemporary art as it's brought up and argued about time and time again elsewhere on the forums. So love it or hate it, here's the place to discuss it.
This is the place to, as Kev put it, "bash with impunity."
Be respectful of the opinions of others, post some pictures, and have fun.
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OK...I'll start. Mainly because I wanted to chime in on the other discussion but it went awry.
First, thanks. And to some of Bill's points in other threads I definitely think we should be able to just discuss this kind of thing without attitudes of "right" and "wrong". Anyway...to pick up where we last saw our intrepid adventurers...
I don't get Rothko. Seen a few in person...not surrounded by them per se but they didn't do much for me. But that's just me...becuase I have also seen some Frank Stella's giant things that sent a shiver up my spine...which likely doesn't happen for others.
IDK...maybe there isn't a whole lot to discuss because the heart of the discussion revolves around personal reactions? So just sharing here rather than making definitive statements.
I'll post these up just to show some stuff that has had a major influence on me:
All Ron Davis - generally referred to as minimal/geometric abstraction...
Malibu studio shot showing scale of the "Snapline" series pieces (aside - this was Frank Gehry's first private home commission)
Six Ninths Red - 1966 I believe. This is just bitchin to me.
Double Slab - 1969? Stolen or missing. Also bitchin.
Cube and Four Panels - 1977? One of the "Snapline" pieces - 8 feet wide.
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All I want to say on this topic is, give it a chance.
If you write it off you learn nothing. And there is actually a lot to learn, which is why there are so many books and museums full of the stuff. You don't have to like everything, but give it a chance. See it in person. Look at how the artist evolved. I hated Mondrian's famous paintings until I saw his early work and understood the evolution. An open mind will serve you better than a closed one.
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What happens to a lot of abstracts is that no consideration is ever given to composition, and too much bullshit is given to the accompanying dissertation explaining it to the viewer. A well composed abstract still works well alongside a traditional painting of , say a landscape. Even is the composition is accidental, it doesn't have to be dismissed as the artist saw it for what it was - pure composition. This is almost puts it on a par with previous discussions about photography (don't go down that route please) and what a person with a more traditional training would make of it.
All marks of art are abstract and ignoring the underlining constructs required to produce a technically good drawing, it boils down to the surface seducing you. Apart from photo realists, most of us want our art to stand out and that comes from making unique abstract marks that give the viewer an impression that they are viewing more than what's put in front of them like Rembrandt's self portraits.
Now while I don't feel an affinity to Modrian's later works, I can appreciate his earlier work that led to his logical conclusion. I would prefer to have his early oak trees to Boogie Woogie whatever number even if the composition works.
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I like Mondrian.
When I learned that he believed that utopia was something attainable, it only took a few gears turning for that to make sense when you look at the work he's known for. Everything's in order. Everything fits into place...Huh. That sounds like super-villain dialogue. Each color is neatly segregated...
Anyway, here's some more stuff that's nice to look at.
It's probably just because I'm looking at a shrunken digital photo, but I like the simultaneous contrast (Is that the word?) I get on the intersections on the black lines. Like blinking lights.
Last edited by Psychotime; May 11th, 2012 at 12:13 AM.
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Modrian, Malevich, Kupka etc started from the start..that's the way it should be in my opinion..you can not abstract if you don't have knowledge..I can not see expression in an abstract work from painters/sculptors that never knew how to paint/sculpt representationally (modern abstract artists for example) I really don't like abstract art though.. I'd say painting an ordinary subject in a different way ( different composition or color for example) is far more important ( to me) than throwing paint all over the place..I mean, the subject is, in my opinion, the less important thing..how you paint it though is, in terms of colour and composition, the most important for me..I'd say abstraction is already in representational art..zoom at a work of George Braque for example...I believe modern artists, lose control ,have no patience to put in order what they think and know and end up with a mess..The fauvs, cubists, expressionists seem to me far more modern and exciting than any modern form of art ..though I like some sculpture
this guy's works look to me FAR more interesting : http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/costas-niarchos
work from 1996
Last edited by ezion; May 10th, 2012 at 06:04 PM.
I do appreciate Mondriaan's early work, and because he definitely knew what he was talking about, painterly speaking, I respect his later abstractions.
I used to visit the The Hague Municipal Museum every once in a while to see this one: . Just sitting on a bench to watch one single painting.
My all time favourite Mondriaan is . I love it.
Ah, and it's Mondriaan. Not Mondrian.
I totally agree with this.
Originally Posted by mickeymao
Even if you hate it, you can't just pretend that it never happened and go pretend we're living in the 16th century. The artworld has been shaped by Modern Art and it's influences stretches out to every facit of it. You can't escape it, no matter how much you'd like to. I'm not saying to go throw away your tablet and become a conceptual artist but it would be greatly beneficial for you to go and learn WHY the artists did what they did and see if you are inspired by any of their ideas.
I was about to mention Mondria(a)ns early investigations, but youve already got it handled!
plus as an industrial designer ive huge admiration for De Stijl and Bauhaus.
" A well composed abstract still works well alongside a traditional painting of , say a landscape."
right on Spot!
I think modern art is silly and ridiculous and also think its powerful and intteresting. The fact that that seems like a contradiction but somehow isnt is exactly why i like it.
as with music, 75% of any genre is trash 15 is alright but flawed and that last 10% is just great.
my .02% of a dollar anyway..
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; May 11th, 2012 at 12:26 AM.
My problem with much of modernism is that however logical an outcome their work is to a process that had been going on for some time, it is not clear that it is necessarily a good thing to take a process to its logical conclusion. Suppose a fashion designer notices that ladies' heels have been getting taller over several decades. What's the logical conclusion of this trend? Heels that are three miles high? Infinitely high heels? Is it necessarily a good idea to make shoes with such heels?
The same thing happened in classical music: there was an increasing tendency for atonal ideas to creep into music; Schoenberg took this to its logical conclusion to create a system of deliberately atonal music, that for many audiences is indistinguishable from the orchestra tuning up their instruments.
In visual art, much of this stuff doesn't do anything at all for me. In music, I am still somewhat undecided. A year ago, I saw a performance of a Schoenberg orchestral piece on TV, and to my own surprise found myself quite fascinated by it.
On the whole, perhaps the jury is still out on the modernist experiment. I think for the individual, this is a test to perform: forget, for a moment, that you are in the "contextualizing space" of an art gallery or museum. Ask yourself this: if I saw this piece in a dumpster, or in the form of a print on the wall of grandma's kitchen, would it still fascinate me? Is its fascination inherent to the work itself, or am I looking at it simply because some hotshot professor of art said its great and someone paid a million dollars for it? In short, do I REALLY like it, or am I pretending to myself that I like it in order not to feel like I'm dumb?
A century or two from now, the dust of battle will have settled a bit, and there will be more clarity on which, if any, of the modernist works have earned their place among the great works. My guess is that much of it will have sunk like a stone, but that is the fate of virtually all art anyway.
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interesting points i thought.
"forget, for a moment, that you are in the "contextualizing space" of an art gallery or museum. Ask yourself this: if I saw this piece in a dumpster, or in the form of a print on the wall of grandma's kitchen, would it still fascinate me? "
mm, possibly, possibly not. being in a big room allows things to breathe though, so you can look at them afresh. i think thats a big part of modern art.
ok the urinal on the wall was a joke, and i think a good one too, but wasnt it kind of beautiful and addition to have short lived shock value. the ceramic, the piss hole, the signature, it just looks cool.
i think theres a lot to be said for putting mismatched artefacts in blank rooms and enjoying them with your eyes... but then im a bit wierd like that (:
"Is its fascination inherent to the work itself, or am I looking at it simply because some hotshot professor of art said its great and someone paid a million dollars for it? In short, do I REALLY like it, or am I pretending to myself that I like it in order not to feel like I'm dumb?"
i dont think not wanting to look dumb is the only motivator. sometimes when someone forces you to look at something, details and interesting things youd wouldnt have ntoiced start to emerge.
i like being treated to novel aesthetic experiences. i dont find much depth in the work of Anish Kapuur for example, but I absolutely love the way standing look up at them evokes. I like to imagine theyre not art, but some alien artefact, and imagine the world that made them.
except for that thing at the olympics, thats not graceful or broken enough for me.
The other thing about modernist art is that its kind of old now too. De Stijl chairs seem like beautiful artefacts from the past as much as futuristic harbingers of a more efficent age.
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; May 11th, 2012 at 01:21 AM.
There really isn't anything to discuss here. Either you hold that any one sentence review (not necessarily written in any understandable language or alphabet) of Moby-Dick is just as valid and valuable a novel as the work of Melville....or you don't.
I dunno, I find myself more interested in contemporary art than most (but not all!) modern illustration. I don't like being spoonfed what I should 'feel' from a piece, and I appreciate the mental exercise of some pieces of contemporary art. I also think context and space is very important when viewing modern art. You just don't feel the same way when you look at a tiny digital image of a huge painting. I like to let Rothkos overwhelm me like a huge blanket. However, I do enjoy the attention to detail that some illustrators give their art. You can find different things to appreciate in any piece and I think, quite frankly, it is ludicrous to dismiss contemporary art as the plaything of philosophers with too much time on their hands.
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