Saturday, July 30, 2011

Me and Modern Art (and why we don't quite understand each other)

So I went to an art museum today, and it was great!, and inspired the bellow reflections. For anyone who loves art or especially loves or hates modern art, I would really love to have your thoughts, comments & feedback!! Seriously. 

Post-script: it occurred to me that I should really be more specific by what I mean by 'modern art', and indicate that by that I mostly mean 'abstract art.' Rather than edit the whole piece however, I'm just going to declare that here and assume you get my drift in the rest of the post. 

I like art, but I am not sure it can be said that I love it. Some works of art I absolutely love, and could stare at them for hours. Sometimes in fact I am put off by how much I gravitate towards a particular piece – there is something about a captivating work of art that is much like eating a delicious meal: I want to be completely absorbed by it, but there always seems to be some thin line between touching the painting with my eyes (or tasting the meal with my tongue) and becoming completely enveloped by it – as though I am stuck on the brink of an orgasm.

So let it not be said that I am unmoved by art. However, there is so much art that leaves me either cold or uncomfortable that I think there is much to art that I do not understand – and by understand I mean not that I lack an intellectual appreciation for any type of art, but that on an intuitive, neurological level I do not connect (or am adverse to) the piece I am looking at in front of me.

At this point I should pause to explain a bit about my aesthetic preferences. Firstly, aesthetics are rather important to me, and in that sense I suppose it could be said that I love art. The differences between a dark room and a brightly lit one, a bougsie restaurant and a bland diner with a counter-top, impress upon me so much that I will do just about anything to avoid the aesthetic I am adverse to. (Including spending more money than I should.) Lighting in particular has the capacity to instantly alter my mood. So I quite notice aesthetics, and have all sorts of opinions about interior design and the such. But perhaps the best way to get at how weird, in some ways – and I might have to confess, narrow – my aesthetic preferences are is to point to one fact that has never failed to puzzle the person I’m confessing it to: I don’t like cartoons. Actually, it is not much a matter of liking or dislikingI feel as though I am allergic to cartoons. But not all animation  – I can handle the realism used in most Disney films, and the animation style used in such films as Waking Life, which I actually rather like. I am allergic to a particular type of cartoon – those that employ strange, non-geometric shapes in rendering figures and above all, those that use bright, largely primary colors. We are talking The Simpsons or Family Guy, but also the profoundly disturbing animation of Monty Python, which is unfortunate since, I otherwise love watching Monty Python. This allergy extends to such a point that I simply do not watch these shows (in the case of Monty Python I just look away and listen), and do not even like to look at pictures or depictions of them. They are off putting and creepy, a big distortive blob in an otherwise pretty landscape. This, as I have been informed by many of my friends, makes me a total freak.