WHAT IS ART?

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For different people it is different things. For me it is about ideas. The superficial surface reality that cameras can record all too well has never interested many artists. The prehistoric cave painters went beyond it right at the beginning. Indeed interesting photography work did as well. When you look at art history I believe you can see very little of what people now call realism. “But it looks so real.” If it illusion you want, I say, go to magician.

People like Monet, Van Gogh and Corot were interested in representing reality, but at a level that truly communicated. The language of the eye is only as sophisticated as the language of the brain. Why did so many people hate impressionism at the beginning? It might be that their eyes had not caught up to the eyes and brains of the artists. This is not to say the viewer needs to be an art scholar, but the viewer should not have shades and shutters on their perceptions. When those shutters are open to new ideas, interest may well flood in.

Pre-judging art has always been a problem. How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t go for that modern art.” Ask them to name a modern artist and they will say, “That guy that splattered paint, you can’t tell me that is art.”

No, we can’t tell you. Because you won’t listen.  Closed minds=closed eyes. It is a shame because there is such a wonderful rich history of art to explore.

Perhaps the biggest misconception is that if you like modern art (that is contemporary art being produced today) you will have to accept all of it. Of course that isn’t true. It brings to mind some people in my area who say to me, “You don’t know the Amish like I do, they aren’t what they say they are.” This means they know of one or two instances in which an Amish person has done something bad. Now, in their minds all Amish were alike to begin with, so if one breaks the law, all are tarnished.

People apply this logic  to art. If you don’t like Jackson Pollock’s work you can still look at Picasso. If you don’t like either one of these artists you might still like David Hockney. Problem is, a lot of people aren’t going to go on and really look at Hockney or others with an open mind, the door was closed back there with Pollock.

An artist friend of mind told me, “I’m kind of in to acceptance.” Not a bad way to go. Well, does that mean I should keep an open mind when it comers to representational art that I don’t care for? Absolutely.

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