Take, for example, a visit to the North Carolina Museum of Art. The art is all laid out by centuries and countries and when you walk through those echoing halls, you cannot help but be astounded at the training and attention to detail that the ancient masters attained. The ancients spent their lifetimes studying their subjects and this is why they are called the masters.
I've visited this museum many times and sometimes I enjoy observing what other people are attracted to in regards to art. There are some portions of the museum where you will find people simply standing, staring at certain pieces of art.....people are mesmerized by the colors, the intricate details and the complexity of some of these pieces (as am I).
Yet, it saddens me that when you get to OUR century in art, there are rarely people standing, staring or sitting on the benches because OUR century of art (at least in the museum) is mostly paint thrown at a canvas or slopped on without regard to balance, thought, planning or study. Those halls are basically always devoid of admirers even though we are "theoretically" SUPPOSED to be enthralled by modern art and able to understand its ethos as well as comprehend the mental anguish of the painter. It simply just doesn't draw us in or entice us to stay. Why is that?
It is also rather interesting that the more chaotic the painting is, the longer the art's description has to be and some of these descriptions are ridiculously insane. Why, pray tell, is that worthy of admiration?
Betty Edwards, the author of Drawing on The Right Side of The Brain (pg. 45), eloquently states, "Awkwardness, I regret to say, is viewed by some art teachers as being more creative or more interesting. I think this attitude does a disservice to the student and is demeaning to art itself. We do not view awkward language, for instance, or awkward science as being more creative and somehow better." (emphasis mine)
If I might add on to that and state that we do not do attend the symphony to listen to a cacophony of sound from an orchestra. I have attended many ballets and I certainly don't pay money nor attend an event for the purpose of seeing someone stumbling clumsily about on stage, unsure of what they are doing. NO! Art is worthy of being studied, practiced and executed in a manner that is a testament to the time the artist has dedicated to probing all of its wonderfully beautiful, elaborate and intricate depths.
Yet all across this country there are people standing in galleries, wine glasses in hand, "admiring" paint that has been thrown at a canvas and attempting to glean some sort of existential meaning from it. It is meaningless...pointless. As an artist, I know that I am supposed to be equally enthralled with this type of artistic "expression", but I am not.
One of my favorite art quotes is by J. Cheane...."Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum - like skepticism, it's a means, not an end. It cries out for a theme. To treat creativity as an end in itself is to assume godlike character for humans as though they could create ex nihilo."
This is so true! We do not have the ability to create something from nothing. When we attempt that, it is still nothing, even though we try to make it something by writing a wordy and ridiculous statement to it.
Sometimes truth issues most accurately and innocently from the mouth of babes....while all of us adults are walking around admiring the emperor's clothing (because we are fearful of being labeled as artistic idiots if we don't admire)....all it takes is my youngest child looking at a piece of modern "art" in the museum.....her eyes are not wide with admiration, her little brow is furrowed and her tiny, pointed nose is wrinkled...she looks up at me with her huge brown eyes and says, "Mom, that's ugly! It doesn't look like anything!"