We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Fine, we'll call it "design" but that means it NOT ART!
"Modern Art" is simply advanced marketing, by slightly talented designers: Picasso, Rothko, Warhol and their ilk, are "Brands" of design, (like Coca Cola and Pepsi are brands of flavored, sugar water) but they are not "art", no matter how fascinating or interesting they may be.
Just as calling Coke or Pepsi "interesting beverages", doesn't make them the equivalent of wine or single malt scotch.
Lines, geometric figures and simple color combinations can be art, when they first break the mold. Anyone who follows after the first artists break the mold are not really artists, they are cashing in on an easy way to call themselves artists.
I'm intrigued by Jackson Pollack not because I think his work is good, but because there's no effort to it. Splatter paint on a canvas? I seem to remember a woman's six-year-old child winning an art contest due to the lower standards applied to what we consider art today. She had submitted the work as a goof and it won. I tried to find the link, but can't. I think they called the work "Fog in Trees" or something like that.
What I struggle with is saying this isn't art at all. It obviously is. A presentation of form, color and composition which generates a discussion of like or dislike can certainly be classified as art.
For me, the defining point is effort. As I said, the first few put effort in, not physically, but mentally and politically, to break the standards. But after visiting the Whitney Biennial 2 years ago and seeing the garbage (literally garbage that was pulled from trashcans and presented as art, but not to mention all the gay porn) which passes for 'art' today, it's hard to not look at Rothko and others like him and consider it a higher form.
Art is what you want it to be is where I finally wound up planting my flag. I don't have to like Pollack, but I can't objectively say his work isn't art. It just doesn't appeal to me.
I remember an art contest being held to promote Art Expo back around 1980. The artist of the winning canvas, selected by a jury of curators from the world's finest galleries, was an elephant from the local zoo. That publicity stunt was quickly canned.
Look at Mark Rothko. Is there less here than meets the eye?
I recently visited the Rothko Chapel with my sister. Schlumberger heirs funded the Rothko Chapel. I told my sister that the Rothko Chapel was probably the only time a Schlumberger got the worst of a deal. That is, until Schlumberger had to deal with Chavista-run PDVSA. Schlumberger recently curtailed its operations in Venezuela due to a slew of unpaid bills.
The ooohing and ahhhhing of Art such as this reminds me of the reaction by the crowds to the Emperor's new clothes. No one wants to be ostracized as a doofus or simpleton, or worse, branded as uncool, so everyone agrees that it is awesome.
Such art is beyond the comprehension of my feeble mind. Looks like someone painting some lines and boxes, and not very well.
If you're hungry would you rather have a hamburger or a new pair of shoes?
Before you answer that, consider that a new pair of shoes may make you forget that you're hungry, may get you to thinking about walking and how you could stand to lose a few pounds, maybe reflect on how shoes are made in China by wage-slaves who can't even afford a hamburger and maybe you should eat more socially-responsibly - a whole host of reasons why buying a new pair of shoes isn't necessarily a ridiculous response to feeling a mite peckish.
If the purpose of a particular piece of art is to get you to think about your own reaction to that piece, get you to examine your feelings and thoughts and maybe learn something about yourself - have a conversation with the artist as it were, with the lead-off being the artist asking you "and how does this make you feel?" - why, that's a valid exercise of art I believe.
It's just that I don't want a conversation with the artist and I don't want to look at a piece of art in order to examine my own psyche - I'm perfectly capable of sitting right here in my chair and being a narcisssist all on my own, thank you very much. No, what I want from the artist is more a lecture - teach me something I don't know, show me something I can't do. If I want to appreciate a piece of art, I want to appreciate it for what it says about itself and not about me. I know me, I'm sick of me, I don't want to talk about me or think about me, I want to look at you, talk about you, think about you.
If I'm hungry, I want a hamburger. I don't want to think about diet and exercise and economics and society - just give me a burger and shut up. Doesn't mean you can't go buy a pair of shoes every time you get hungry, it's just that it's not my cup of...uh, hamburger, I guess. Probably should have thought of a better metaphor to go there at the end. Oh, wait! I'll call it artistic license! And how does that make you feel?