March 25, 2004

Bananas (yahoo) are getting a mixed response from critics.
  • The criteria to choose the prize winners in modern art contests escapes my comprehension. But, if this where a fun art contest, Auad would be the clear winner. [banana]
  • Bananas by Auad would appear to be an appropriate MonkeyFilter artist, dxlifer. But how could you not link to this other piece by Auad? Personally, I like Nicoline van Harskamp's guards piece.
  • Now that is oddly beautiful, treeboy.
  • Neat, I really like that crazy banana art... just strikes me as being cool and I don't know why. I don't understand modern art in general. I have no idea what makes some pieces garner amazing reviews, and others totally horrible - when they look eerily similar to me. I just don't get it most of the time.
  • I don't understand modern art in general. ... People often say this, but I wonder if they understand "non-modern" art any better. Please don't think I'm picking on you bah, but while there's a certain level appreciation you can have as a neophyte looking at a Picasso, it's more rewarding to understand it within the context of his entire lifework, his contemporaries, and then art history as a whole. Contemporary artists don't typically paint pretty pictures of bowls of fruit (that are just bowls of fruit) not because they don't have the technical mastery anymore, but because there's other, new things to be said. So on a casual glance, the pretty panting of fruit may seem better, more relevant, or more "artful" than Duchamp's Fountain. Art Appreciation is a class they make you take because you really do actually have to learn to appreciate art.
  • Daniel - you're totally right. I understand all art, about the same - which is not at all. I know what I like and that's about all. It makes sense that you have to understand the context surrounding the piece. It's really like any other sort of discpline in that respect I'd say. For example, you can't appreiciate a historical quote's full meaning unless you immerse yourself into the time period. That's all well and good. I just wouldn't know where to begin to understand modern art... or any art really.
  • Can someone PLEASE explain this one to me???? Why do I even bother with college when that is considered great art.
  • Hey, she copied me.
  • treeboy...i missed that wonderful monkey! as for modern art, well...what i don't appreciate, i file under "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". i admit that i still tend to favour technique over simply the message....or, better yet, a combination of both.
  • But, doesn't artists are supposed to communicate a message or produce a specific reaction? If they fail to convey it to the general public aren't they failing as artists? One thing is that people normaly don't care about art and don't put any effort on understanding the message. That's why artist need exposition and funding by special organizations and fundations. But when artists don't care if the message doesn't arrive they are not being artists, only egocentric smuggers.
  • Zemat is right - if art fails to communicate with other people, it is still art, but really bad art. The banana is quite striking, especially if you could watch it rot. The "watercolour", however, fails to communicate anything. This whole "you don't get it because you don't understand it" is sometimes true, but still incrediably lazy on the side of the artist. It's not just visual art either - all avant garde art forms use this an excuse for not figuring out how to be imaginative and fresh without being obscure. (Actually, academics suffer from the same disease.) This artist, linked earlier on mofi, is avant-garde, but still fascinating and affecting, whether you "get" art or not. The purpose of art is expression - but that can be either private or public. I personally do hundreds of abstract drawings to express myself non-verbally, swirling lines that I think are quite pretty (and sometimes very well done), but they mean nothing, and say less, so I inflict them on no one. Art in the public is claiming to create a relationship between the artist and the audience - to communicate a feeling, a thought, a sense of something that may not be describable, but is still there. The failure to do so in not simply the audience's fault (we should do some reaching, but certainly not all) - the artist must question whether they have taken the effort to reach towards us as well.
  • I didn't think about the bananas rotting, jb. That clearly gives that piece another more valuable dimension.
  • hey, give the watercolor artist a break. perhaps she meant it as a non-art, a dada, a meaningless piece presented as art not because it is, but to make us ask why we consider anything to be art in the first place, like a blank canvas presented as a masterpiece by an accomplished artist who is really just amusing himself by placing a blank canvas into a show and waiting for the call of "bullshit!" that never comes, because he is a great artist and we proles won't dare to criticize. and thus, because it makes us think, or because we are afraid to question, it becomes art. or maybe the artist is a 5-year old. whatever.
  • > I didn't think about the bananas rotting This I would say, is an integral part of that piece of art. Now, is it a failure because you didn't realize this until someone suggested it to you? There are a lot of people who can't, or don't care to understand James Joyce. Is he a shitty writer because he didn't reach a wider audience? A lazy writer, perhaps? Is it still a book, just a really bad one? I hear that Stephen King is a really populist, erm I mean, popular writer... Perhaps one of the reactions the artist is soliciting from you (albeit grossly overused) is anger. As in, "why is this art?" Or perhaps, it's deceptive to look at a 200x100 image on the web and think you've seen something.
  • Anything can be music, but it doesn't become music until someone wills it to be music, and the audience listening to it decides to perceive it as music. Most people can't deal with that abstraction -- or don't want to. --Frank Zappa Or, to put it another way: A poem should be equal to: Not true.
    For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf.
    For love The leaning grasses and the lights above the sea --
    A poem should not mean But be.
    -- Archibald MacLeish
  • Yes, Daniel, I would probably think less of Joyce's effort if I tried to read him, and could not understand it. Yevgeny Zamiatin was just as avant-garde at a similar time, and no one complains about understanding him. (And I'm not talking about being bored - I mean giving something effort and still not being able to parse it. Actually, I know that Joyce is a capable writer, as I have read his Dubliners and liked it very much.) But I'm not talking about someone without strong literacy skills trying to read difficult literature, or someone who has seen no art trying to read it for the first time (though frankly, unless more simple art is made, like simple books, how can we ever expect people to develop their visual literacy?). I have made art and studied art history - I have been to historical and contemporary galleries. I have seen the poems written in paint on a torn bedsheet - frankly, had they taken the effort to write a) a good poem and b) paint it well on the bedsheet, I might have liked that piece. But the "it's your fault if you don't understand my art" excuse allows endless abuse of us as both audiences and as art funders. We can be sold crap if we don't keep up a willingness to say, "that may be art, but it's crap". And all the really wonderful modern art, which is avant garde and powerful/beautiful/touching/awe-inspiring is drowned out by our unwillingness to weed.
  • clf - you got a point. But who said that Dadaism was good art? At least dadaists clearly expressed their intentions. Daniel - I still doubt that the rotting is an integral part of the piece. Like you said, I need to watch the piece live to make a better judgement. A lot of people think that James Joyce is a shitty writer (I haven't read him so I have no opinion). It's because they failed to understand him, or are those who praise him who really don't understand the quality of his work? The problem with obtuse or obscure art is precisely it's excesive dependence on subjectivity. Clearly, the artist could be expecting that nobody understand what's the point of his/her piece, making that precisely the point. But I have seen lots of artists who are pissed because nobody seems to understand their pieces. Those are the artists that really have failed. But instead of trying to improve their work they just expect that people willfuly elevate (or degrade) their level of understanding until they see they way the artists see their work. Sometimes it's justified. Most of the time, it's not. On preview, what jb said.
  • Yevgeny Zamiatin was just as avant-garde at a similar time Piffle. Rot.
  • I agree with Wolof. I've only ever read We, and I'd say it is a masterpiece, probably, and certainly a visionary work (or whatever the word I'm searching for actually is) but I don't think it was ever considered, or could have been consider, avant garde. But I'm not an English Literature student, so I could be wrong. I haven't read James Joyce, though (I bought Ullysses last summer and its still on my to read pile, along with Don Quixote, and Catch-22, and the Tale of Genji, and lots of other big, interesting looking books).
  • Wolof: Please expand. What specifically makes Zamiatin not avant garde? I have always found him very unique, but my experience is with English literature only. Certainly compared to the realism of Hardy or Dickens, or to the simple style of E.M. Forster, Zamiatin seems very experimental. This college course on Literary Avant-Garde and Revolution includes his work. Perhaps you would use "avant garde" more specifically; I was using it in the general sense of creating in a form or style that is new, rather than traditional. Many things start avantgarde, but cease to be when they become mainstream.
  • ** By experimental, I meant different from typical novels of the period (in English at least) in language, potting and imagery.
  • This FPP also concerns art.
  • and that would be plotting, sorry. (Maybe when I preview, I should actually read it carefully.)
  • a primer on modern art. it's all in how one looks at it.