View Full Version : Modern Art: the Greatest Hoax of the 20th Century? (Repost)
August 3rd, 2002, 05:19 AM
Originally posted by Lunatique:
How's this for the first serious topic, eh?
In general, I do have a distaste for conceptual art(not CONCEPT art, but CONCEPTUAL art), where people do things like:
1)Drape white sheets over a stretch of land, and title it something pretentious.
2)Take some household items and glue them together, and title it something pretentious.
3)Take some mannequins and pose them, rope them off and title it something pretentious.
I think that's really stretching it thin. That type of "art" borders on intellectual masturbation and psychology acrobatics.
I agree that there are some cool things that came out of modern art, and its influence benefited even traditional paintings. But, the way modern dominated the art world for decades reads like a conspiracy novel.
When leaders of the movement admits that they've played the art world for a fool, and it's all a big hoax, does it mean the movement itself was empty and irrelevant?
Picasso openly admitted that he fueled the fire by pumping out meaningless work one after another, playing to the audience and the critics--and laughed all the way to the bank. But does this make the disciples of that movement victims? Not really. Each of them took their part in the movement seriously, and many works WERE authentic in heart/soul/spirit. It's the case of a few rotten eggs spoiling the whole salad.
It was all about money, wasn't it? Modern artists could produce a high volume of works in a short period of time, while the traditional painters slowly painted away. The Art dealers LOVED being able to sell high volumes. So, away with the old, and in with the new--and the lucrative profits.
When the art critics and intellectuals fueled the fire, did they really believe what they were saying? "So and so's artwork evoked passionate visions of religious fevor, while examining the society's need for redemtion and forgiveness. One cannot look at so and so's work and not be compelled to look inside one's own soul for the answer to our destiny...blah blah."
And all that describes a huge canvas with squares and cirles, and splashes of paint?
What kind of drugs were they on? I want some because it sure f#$ked them up REAL good.
When William Godward committed suicide, his note said, "The world is not big enough for me and Picasso." The art critics ridiculed and humiliated him throughout his career, and after he passed away, his family was so embarrassed by him that they destroyed all of his personal things. Nothing was left of the man, not even a photograph or letter.
My God, what have they done?! I can't help but feel intense anger and sorrow for the victims of modern art.
But, I still can't disregard modern art altogether. Whether I like it or not, we all benefited from the modern art movement in one way or another. Through that movement, we became more sensitive to abstract shapes, the way colors and shape generate emotions, and the context in which each individual or collection of artwork is to be considered.
So, was is all a big hoax? I prefer to leave the question mark hanging.
August 3rd, 2002, 05:19 AM
Originally posted by nardfrog:
I could get into a rager on this topic! Im glad you are someone who dislikes conceptual art, and probably a lot of pop art I'm guessing. How can a canvas with scribbles on it be considered art. If someone tried this back in the renaissance, they would be sent to a mental institude. Ofcourse now im drifting into abstract so... I dont see the relation of I gaint room with a ball & stool in it and art. The problem, is that fine art is so freaking subjective that these days its completely left to the eye of the beholder. Therefor I can shit on a plate, title it "hambuger from McDonald's" And send it to a museum. And all those people with the trendy glasses drinking triple cappiccinos wearing versici turtle-necks can say" Oh thats simply fabulous, he's sooo brilliant!" And then people with true creativity and talent would puke. :D I think for the most part the worst went out with the eighties. Thank god.
August 3rd, 2002, 05:20 AM
Originally posted by jezelf:
good topic. a hoax?
mmm. I've often thought about this too. but are we just annoyed at these artists because it seems 'easy' and we're thinking they never spent years doing 'traditional' art so we feel cheated? or is it because of our lack of understanding?
It's the old question of 'what is art' ? is it an idea, the presentation of something through creative means, or is it simply the ability to replicate something of three dimensions onto 2 dimensions.
conceptual art in general can be annoying, and for me often seems to be pretentious in the fullest sense of the word, but it can also, once you understand the piece, make us reflect upon ourselves as they can be a personal or social statements.
I'm no expert I must stress. When I was in my student years, and going to modern art galleries and seeing conceptual, modern and installation art I would find myself walking up to a little note stuck on the wall to try and understand better what the piece is all about.
I gradually disliked having to do this, and wanted to just like or dislike the piece on what I see in face value terms. However we've all heard 'every picture tells a story' (or similar) and I don't think that anything contemporary is excluded from that. if you look at a John Constable or Pre-Raphalite we can comprehend because we understand light, trees, people - as we relate to them every day. Impressionism came along and artists like William Turner started with his work, trying to emit a emotion into 2D. They still all have back history - they tell those thousands words - still have labels on the walls if you care to or want to understand what is actually going on other than a well executed work, you can have work by David which is just about social conditions at the time of it's painting, but now, we're in a different time, those conditions have change and all we see is a beautifully painted piece, which we can comprehend even in today's terms because it can be figurative.
conceptual art appears to dwell more in the realms of intellectuality, than 'creativity' at times - the whole difficulty is how we, as viewers, comprehend that art. if we draw a line on art, on personal creativity, just because it represents something no one understands other than the artist, I think we're going in a dangerous area. I don't think an artist's work should be laughed at or refused recognisiton on terms of everyone else's missunderstanding. is he a mad man or a genius?
I'm sure, because of this hazy area, we could all take the situation to our advantage. I think most of the time the critics are more pretentious than the artists because they, in turn, have to validate themselves! I personally don't think we need some person to tell everyone what is good or bad art. We just have to trust them to do the job of smelling the rats.
this kind of argument has been going for years - a century! I'm sure people had these talks when cubism appeared. let me ask you this - if you discovered the conceptual artists you dislike could 'draw' just as good as the finest artist here, would your view of their concept art change? if you discovered this and it changed your view, why should it have any change on your first impressions and the validity of the work? You've mentioned Picasso's work. When he was still in his teens, check it out we was an excellent traditional artist, and went in a new direction. a lot of people just see his cubism and think he's crap. well I think I've veered off the point too.
I don't have the answers - so perhaps this thread will enlighten me too. I do feel that if an artist - what ever their work, be it someone here, a conceptual artist or a child, is simply sincere and honest with their work then it is valid as art, because it is a form of self expression. perhaps we make boundaries for ourselves because of social conditioning? I guess the trick is to shift through it work out who's sincere and who's taking us for a ride!
August 3rd, 2002, 05:20 AM
Originally posted by Lunatique:
Well said, and here are some thoughts I have after reading the replies.
If a conceptual artist can actually draw/paint as well as someone like Manley, I would have doubts as to WHY this person is doing conceptual art. When someone is THAT immersed in the beauty of traditional art, it's very hard for me to imagine that person turning his/her back on it. I know Jon J. Muth, a really good painter who is known for his painted works in graphic novels, acutally did some conceptual type pieces. But for him, it's more of a detour than the majority of his body of works.
The part about honesty and sincerity is the part that makes it complicated. If I showed you two pieces of abastract or conceptual art, can you identify WHICH artist was honest and sincere about the piece, and which artist was the no talent pretentious hack? You CAN'T tell the difference. There is no criteria to judge a piece of modern art. Everyone's personal interpretation is different, and no artist has to answer to any established standard of excellence. You can say that creates opportunites for freedom of expression, but you can also say it creates a haven for deceivers and liars.
If a person wants to be taken seriously as a literary author, he better know his grammar, style, and a way with words.
If a person wants to be taken seriously as a musician/composer, he better know his music theory, or be able to play an instrument.
But an artist can demonstrate zero proof of his artistic ability in the context of established representitive visual art, yet he could end up as a master of modern art? Tell me you smell something funny about this too.
Picasso had talent, as he demonstrated in his youth, but in the end, he openly admitted that he was a con man. He laughed about how he deceived everyone, and benefited from the pretentious, pseudo intellectuals that made him a very rich man.
Here, in Picasso's own words, his confession:
When I was young, like all the young, art, great art, was my religion; but with the years, I came to see that art, as it was understood until 1800; was henceforth finished, on its last legs, doomed, and that so called artistic activity with all its abundance is only the many formed manifestation of its agony. Men are detached from and more and more disinterested in painting, sculpture and poetry; appearances to the contrary, men today have put their hearts into everything else; the machine, scientific discoveries, wealth, the domination of natural forces and immense territories. We no longer feel art as a vital need, as a spiritual necessity, as was the case in centuries past.
Many of us continue to be artists and to be occupied with art for reasons which have little in common with true art, but rather through a spirit of imitation, through nostalgia for tradition, through mere inertia, through love of ostentation, of prodigality, of intellectual curiosity, through fashion or through calculation. They live still through force of habit and snobbery in a recent past, but the great majority in all places no longer have any sincere passion for art, which they consider at most as a diversion, a hobby and a decoration. Little by little, new generations with a predilection for mechanics and sports, more sincere, more cynical and brutal, will leave art to the museums and libraries as an incomprehensible and useless relic of the past.
From the moment that art is no longer the sustenance that nourishes the best, the artist may exteriorize his talent in all sorts of experiments with new formulas, in endless caprices and fancy, in all the expedients of intellectual charlatanism. In the arts, people no longer seek consolation, nor exaltation. But the refined, the rich, the indolent, distillers of quintessence seek the new, the unusual, the original, the extravagant, the shocking. And I, since cubism and beyond, I have satisfied these gentlemen and these critics with all the various whims which have entered my head, and the less they understood them, the more they admired. By amusing myself at these games, at all these tomfooleries, at all these brain-busters, riddles and arabesques, I became famous quite rapidly. And celebrity means for a painter: sales increment, money, wealth.
Today, as you know, I am famous and very rich. But when completely alone with myself, I haven't the nerve to consider myself an artist in the great and ancient sense of the word. There have been great painters like Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt and Goya. I am only a public entertainer who has understood his time. This is a bitter confession, mine, more painful indeed than it may seem, but it has the merit of being sincere."
The God of modern art admitted he was a fraud. What more can we say?
Does this mean that the disciples of modern art are all frauds? Nope. Some ARE sincere and honest, and believed in expression through their experiemental visions.
But as I stated earlier, you CAN'T tell the honest ones from the frauds, because modern art provides no standard for us to make that distinction.
I find that too dangerous, and it makes me uncomfortable enough to want to disregard the entire movement. When you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys, what do you do?
I personally would just walk away and avoid them altogether.
August 3rd, 2002, 05:21 AM
Originally posted by Taff:
Good postings everyone. I don't have anything I could add, since I got the same opinion as you guys. I don't like modern art, I never did. Throughout the last years in school the dislike turned into hate, because all we were doing in class was modern art, or talking about and analyzing modern art. Nothing traditional. All the time I wandered, what's the point of modern art, of conceptual art. Well I have a certain repsect towards artist, who tried to show emotions through coler etc, which experimented with color and composition. There's a lot you can learn from their works - but I don' see any potential in these hoax-pieces. I am sure you know abu ready-mades from dadaism. These guys just took something and called it art. I freak out at the thought of this. Though, the first artists, which were finding such ready-mades did it as a hoax. Eventually the hoax got sucked up by the modern art, too It became actual art, and got called art by the critics.
I agree with Lunatique. Some of those conceptual artists are sincee and honest, some are frauds, and it's better to avoid them altogether, just to get away from the bad guys.
August 3rd, 2002, 05:22 AM
Originally posted by arkiruthis:
I guess what worries me is that a generation of students is appearing who know absoutely nothing about the techniques that have been handed down from one School to the next. In a sense, it seems like many modern artists have the arrogance to suggest that they are the only correct way of thinking. Is it a hoax? Maybe. Is it a fraud? When public money is being spent on it... DEFINATELY. An example is the Turner Prize. There's a previous topic about that archived here which might make for interesting reading.
When £20,000 (about $30,000) of tax payers money are awarded to a modern artist who says:
"My work is about what people want it to be"
No shit Sherlock! I'm so glad 20,000 smackers is going to rewarding your artistic ingenuity.
Alot of installation art, is, it has to be said, quite clever. No doubt it requires the artist's presence to be able to appreciate it. However, I would be happier contributing to the arts knowing that the students who present their work had, at the very least, a basic understanding of sound artistic principles before deciding to innovate.
August 3rd, 2002, 05:22 AM
Originally posted by azjohnl:
isn't "art" whatever you can get away with ? :rolleyes:
Ugh, when I was getting my BFA at ASU I was rather infuriated and outright disgusted by what was being passed off as art at the MFA shows. One exhibit was fabric dipped in chocalate and bbq sauce and hung about. Now she is an actual teacher. Another done by my instructor for a design class was a table with pamphlets about black helicopters and other conspiracy theories. Not that all the teachers were this off in art, but they definately seemed to be taking over...
August 3rd, 2002, 05:23 AM
Originally posted by Vhy:
Thanks for posting that quote by Picasso; I hadn't seen that, and I think it rings true
The scammers are out there... I didn't notice it much until the past year because I've been in art school and checking out all the shows. Artists that can't compete using talent can still get somewhere using intimidation, so I never was sucessful with trying to understand certain shows, but maybe I learned some new words.
Someone like Picasso might be hard to identify as a scammer because he isn't lacking talent, while some artsists might be hard to identify as legitimate. As a result of scams I tend to trust my initial reaction more than I used to - whether or not that's a good thing
August 5th, 2002, 07:31 PM
...conceptual art gives very bored people with no real artistic ability something to do....i suggest they just go watch tv...:D
August 6th, 2002, 07:16 AM
i agree to a point... i like some conceptual art, however i think of it more as a decoration than an expression of emotion or ideas. ever notice that there is ALOT of conceptual art in hospitals or lobbies? strange...
August 13th, 2002, 02:34 PM
my favorite at ASU was the cloth dipped in chocolate and bbq sauce and then....and then....titled something pretentious!
And then there were the conspiracy theory pamphlets on a table....and that was art....
August 13th, 2002, 03:05 PM
I grew up in Ottawa and was there when they built the new National Gallery. They paid x million dollars for "Voice of Fire" which started a debate that raged on for months.
The most creative thing to come of it was all the places people painted 2 blue and 1 red stripe on things and named them... something pretentious.
There was the Car of Fire, the Wall of Fire, the Window of Fire... you get the idea.
Here's the Voice of Fire (http://home.istar.ca/~melandre/voicefire.html) (in all its pretentious glory).
September 10th, 2002, 01:52 AM
| conceptional art piece (above) by
| monotypic. the two outer lines
| represent sociaty as a whole
| which surrounds us bringing comfort
| and defines who we are. it is the
| "outer shell" of ourselves. the center
| portion of this piece revolves around
| the reflection of our inner desires.
| the "eyes" are created in a way in which
| to bring about a feeling of sleepyness,
| sleepyness as in which our culture slumbers
| in its own inability to further define ourselves.
next week... the emotional abstracts of the kirby emoticon
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