Musings for August, 2015

Car­ole, if the mar­ket is made up of art ‘pol­lu­tion’, then why wor­ry if it becomes worth­less?
It is not the art that mat­ters, any­way. I have a ques­tion though: could you please give exam­ples of con­tem­po­rary art that you con­sid­er wor­thy?”


We could say the same about music…If music hurts our ears, we can turn it off. If art pol­lu­tion hurts our eyes, how can we snuff it out? I guess we can choose not to look at it, but It is still there!  Mediocre art in our face, over and over again. Does this not low­er stan­dards, for every­one?
I agree that the act of cre­ativ­i­ty, “mak­ing”, is for the artist, as impor­tant as the end result–for the artist. But if not eval­u­at­ed, and care­ful­ly scru­ti­nized by the artist, and maybe his deal­er?, the result­ing “facile” glut of art that clogs the mar­ket is pol­lu­tion that low­ers stan­dards of the entire art world. The art that ris­es to the “top” is a tiny bit, of the top 1%, made by artists who actu­al­ly attain impor­tant art careers. We must be care­ful to sep­a­rate, here, the great artists from the “pop­u­lar” artists that have risen to the top, dri­ven by clever busi­ness­men art deal­ers, etc. who were able to adver­tise the artists in their sta­bles, and cre­ate a mar­ket that over the past decades, has become ever more expen­sive.
In my mind, exam­ples of con­tem­po­rary art that is “wor­thy” of great­ness, have yet to be decid­ed. We will only know this, as the his­to­ry of art pro­gress­es through time. The genius­es will rise to the top over time. Those who last, will be those who have some­thing impor­tant to “say”, and those who have changed the direc­tion of Art His­to­ry.

Mean­while, we in the art world, can work on devel­op­ing our “taste”.  Sep­a­rate the mediocre, from the art that has the abil­i­ty to make you see the world in a new way. Chal­lenge your stu­dents to go beyond the facile, and the easy. Dig deep inside your souls and express the tough, and the best ideas of which you are capa­ble. Do not accept aver­age, for your clients, or your stu­dents. Keep striv­ing for your great­est and most authen­tic expres­sions. Art is more than nice tech­nique. Art is more than the abil­i­ty to copy a beau­ti­ful land­scape. Art needs to move us to feel deeply, it should move our minds to think dif­fer­ent­ly, in expand­ed ways.

In my hum­ble opin­ion, a Great work of Art, imprints on our brain, and stays, so that we can bring up the image of in when­ev­er we think about it. In my case, I still remem­ber the space, and the place I was in, when I stood in front of Picas­so’s “Guer­ni­ca”, for the first time. I was 21.  I still remem­ber the muse­um in Hol­land, where I walked down a long cor­ri­dor of Rem­brandt paint­ings, with the giant Night Watch, at the end of the space. I stood in front of the beau­ti­ful glazes on the small­er Rem­brandt paint­ings, and at 26, I was so moved that I cried. Expe­ri­enc­ing these great works, were mem­o­rable life expe­ri­ences, for me.  When did you stand in front of an art work, and become so moved, that it made you cry?

As for CONTEMPORARY ART,  I need to go back to the last cen­tu­ry.  In the whole art realm, the 20th cen­tu­ry is still con­tem­po­rary.   I was edu­cat­ed dur­ing the era of Abstract Expres­sion­ism.  It was so dif­fi­cult for me to under­stand abstrac­tion, then, and to know why it had mer­it.  It took years and years of imbed­ding myself in this art style, to real­ly under­stand and appre­ci­ate why it was great.  Art is sub­jec­tive.  Art is per­son­al.  Art speaks to each of us in a dif­fer­ent way.  If I speak for myself, I fell in love with the works of Willam De Koon­ing.  He seemed to be the expres­sion­ist who went the deep­est into this move­ment.  His works were lus­cious and painter­ly, and his col­or was allur­ing. The sur­faces of his works were so invit­ing.  You felt like you want­ed to touch them, and feel the sen­su­al­i­ty he cre­at­ed by his trow­eled on swaths of paint.   It cap­ti­vat­ed my inter­est by its unique­ness, in those years.  His com­po­si­tions were unin­hib­it­ed, and not con­trived.  They were open hon­est expres­sions com­ing from his soul, and not edit­ed by his brain.  This was, for me, the epit­o­me of abstract expres­sion.

All art is about expres­sion in some way.  Those artists who can reach deeply into their sub­con­scious minds, and express with­out edit­ing with their brains, are the best cre­ators, in my hum­ble opin­ion.


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