Monday, October 1, 2018

Probably closer to stream of consciousness than a rant (barely)

Contemporary art, to me, can be divided into a few broad categories: the type that focuses on looking good, the type that focuses on looking horrible but new, and the type that tries to convey a message about society. Or, in other words, the good, the bad, and the ugly (truth). I happen to fall into the camp that values form, lighting, anatomy, and so on, and as such, I really don’t like the attempts at art some artists have made, and I don’t value their contributions in the slightest, no matter how many people try to explain how something has been deconstructed or pushed the boundaries of art. It’s a personal type of selfishness, sure, but I’ll go through why I think this way. To begin with, I think the idea of being avant-garde is an excuse to not develop one’s concept into something that stands alone in skill. Rothko pushed the boundaries of art by deconstructing painting into primary colors and rectangles, but he only took the outrage over it as evidence he was doing something right, apparently, because he continued to do the same thing until more people gave up and accepted it. And, just to mention the common point against it, being successful in this camp relies a little too much on publicity and luck. The argument of “if it’s so easy to make avant-garde art, why don’t you do it first”, which always finds a place into the arguments of free-thinkers, is too dismissive, and doesn’t justify the fact that the most artists don’t try to further encrypt their work into being unreplaceable. For example, in pieces that use wild brushstrokes like anything from Jackson Pollock, the only barriers are the trends of organization unique to them as they try to do something randomly, and this isn’t intentional enough. Although I suppose Jackson Pollock’s splatter paint technique became unique over time as he probably developed muscle memory from doing it so many times, people can still mimic that well enough to fool the average person, who is all that really matters when it comes to art. My complaint is that development for the avant-garde artist stops at the revelation of a new abstraction or deconstruction, basically. Speaking of the average person, this ties into why I don’t like art that tries to convey a sociopolitical message, but it earns a little less distaste from me than avant-garde work. It simply won’t be understood by every person unless the piece abandons subtlety and becomes more of an exaggeration than a public experience. I find that politics being mixed in with everything is also just exhausting, to the point where I’ll dismiss something for being an overdone topic. But, at least political art still tries to inspire something in the viewer, and occasionally goes for depictions of form and scenery. Nonrepresentational art tries to invoke emotion too, but I think its fundamental error is its defining feature: that it excludes people or makes them unrecognizable as such by ruining their features. Ultimately, art is for people, and if it is to invoke emotion, it must be something that can be empathized with and understood without an attached essay explaining the scrambled mess. For countless years, humans have been depicted in art realistically, and certainly not with total accuracy. Just consider the exaggerated musculature of Michelangelo’s portrayals of humans, and how they still captured the hearts of viewers. The development of photography may have stolen realism’s main selling point but giving up on all degree of accuracy to convey a message is not the solution.

No comments:

Post a Comment