Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Special Feature: "Is Modern Art So Bad?" by Jason A. Gordon

Editor's Note:  In order to understand the context of "Is Modern Art So Bad?" it is necessary to first view the following video, "Why Is Modern Art So Bad?" by Robert Florczak, an artist and illustrator affiliated with Prager University https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNI07egoefc.

Jason A. Gordon is a second year fine arts student at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio.  More information about Mr. Gordon and his art may be found here:  http://art-of-rofljay.tumblr.com/ and here:  http://rofljay.deviantart.com/.

Is Modern Art So Bad?
Jason A. Gordon

FOUNTAIN BY MARCEL DUCHAMP
Robert Florczak makes a good case for the rejection of modern art.  I've been conflicted about this subject. I think many modern art pieces are nice, regardless of the effort put into them. And that's the main mentality at the moment--that the effort required to make a piece doesn't affect its worth anymore, or at least not as much as it did. This was especially started by Duchamp's Fountain (pictured), which was a urinal that he signed with his name. It took him forever to find a gallery to accept the piece, and in the end this started the "Dada" movement. 

For what it's worth, I could actually tell that Mr. Florczak's apron was not a Pollock piece. The reason is that most of Pollock's pieces actually have thought put into them. I love Pollock's pieces. Sure, they seem like they were easy to do--and generally they were--but the bottom line is they are pleasing to the eye, and I'd say that is what makes the pieces successful. Funny enough, the question of whether his pieces are "art" or not was something about which he was also conflicted.

Then we have Andy Warhol, who revolutionized art in many ways. One of the biggest things he's credited for by many is "ending art." Warhol's series of Brillo Boxes http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/89204.html are considered to be the perfect realism, completely indistinguishable from the real life object.  They look like photos but aren't.  This brings up another point--if photo's can capture real life in the click of a button, what point is there in painstakingly doing it manually? After Warhol, many people considered the centuries long endeavor of replicating real life to be over. 

Where do we go from here? The only place to go really is into the realm of the conceptual. There are artists today such as this crazy person http://jw-jeong.deviantart.com/gallery/ who have taken it a step further and delved into hyper-realism, but for the most part art now deals with the conceptual.  We are also currently in the middle of a minimalist movement. This is especially apparent from company logos--they keep getting more and more simplified.

LANDSCAPE ONE BY JASON A. GORDON
The way I see it, if an artist takes a piece of paper and draws a line on it in such a way that he does something profound or pleasing to the eye, I say his piece definitely deserves some kind of recognition. However, I believe it should also be known that he did choose the easy way out, and therefore shouldn't be given an incredible amount of credit.  

I believe Monet had the best balance of the conceptual and real. His pieces depict real life but are also made in an interesting, pleasing "dream-like" fashion. Something I'm trying to experiment with right now is combining the conceptual and the real. I tried doing that in a painting (pictured) that combined a mountainous landscape and a Jackson Pollock-like splatter background.  While I am not displeased with the result, this is still a work in progress for me.

The fact of the matter though is that nobody can tell anybody what "art" is. No matter how many people may say, "This isn't art!" if enough people enjoy or appreciate the irony in a piece, there is nothing that can be done to tell those people it isn't art. But also keep this in mind: Just because something is art, it doesn't make it good art.

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