Wednesday, January 7, 2009
art? or pre-school?
So, here’s a funny story (via fark) about an Aussie art gallery that got tricked into showing the ‘art’ of a two year old. The paintings are priced from $350-$2000, and the gallery owners decided to allow the child’s paintings to remain on display even after they found out about the deception. Quoth the parents:
"Of course, every mother is proud of their child. I didn't tell him (Jamieson) because I had all these feelings going through my head — fear, embarrassment."
Er, yeah. That and visions of what you could do with the potential scratch you could make off of your kid squirming around in some paint.
So to find out if the kid’s pictures had any merit, the reporter presented them to the paper’s art critic without telling him anything about the artist:
That's a view shared by The Age's art critic, Robert Nelson. When shown the works without any information on the artist, Nelson said his first impression was of "credible abstractions, maybe playing on Asian screens with their reds. They're heavily reliant on figure/ground relations."
Riiiight. Whatever you say, buddy. At any rate, here’s my problem, o artsy-fartsy friends o’ mine: what’s the difference between this kid’s ‘art’ and that of other modern artists? Why should any adult’s abstract art be more highly valued than this kid’s, if experts can’t see a difference? For that matter, why isn’t the so-called ‘Butt Bandit’ deemed an artist for the fine (and chilly) work he did in Nebraska last fall?
I mean, I understand beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that. And believe me, I am not one to negatively judge another’s artistic endeavors without reason. It’s hard enough to create something without others trying to tear it down with only the intent to destroy for destruction’s sake.
But with a film or a play or a novel or an album, at least there is a common language by which we can all judge something. We can make arguments for or against the merits of said piece and perhaps come to some common conclusion about it. Not so with visual art, especially abstract art.
Again, artsy-fartsy peeps: is it just the language to describe and understand said art that is less commonly spoken, or is it that there is no language that can be understood outside one’s own head and heart to describe how art makes us feel, what we see in it?
And if that’s the case, why are there ‘art experts’ at all? What purpose do they serve if all art is purely subjective?
Beyond that, how can it be said that there are even 'great artists'? If each person's view of art is unique, then all art is of equal merit, depending on who is doing the viewing, right?