Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Art that Leaves Me Cold

I love art. I especially love art that tells a story. But a painting like this leaves me cold. Room after room of art like this at so many museums.I suppose it is well executed, but could anyone really want this hanging in the dining room. Well, other than for its $$$.

What leaves you cold?

32 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I like that pretty well. The art that generally leaves me cold are the abstracts like a yellow square on a blue circle.

pattinase (abbott) said...

That also leaves me cold.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This is a test.

Richard R. said...

Portraits aren't very interesting, unless they happen to depict an historical event (Washington crossing the Delaware). Otherwise it's just a pre-photography picture of someone, for that someone's benefit, or the person's family. Sure Rembrandt was very, very skilled, as were many other artists, but the paintings themselves don't interest me very much.

I'm partial to watercolors, by such artists as Winslow Homer, and by more contemporary artists. I also love plen aire painting.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The art that leaves me cold is when it's been turned into a commodity by cynical multimillionaire "artists" like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, who have managed to convince Russian oligarchs, third-world dictators, internet billionaires, and hedge fund managers that art is a good way to hide assets and launder ill-gotten gains. So pay me $100 million for this cow carcass floating in a vat of formaldehyde!

Deb

George said...

Art that looks like a kindergarten's finger-painting leaves me cold.

Mathew Paust said...

Suppose I could warm up to the lady in blue with the generous bosom and pink rose, but I feel heat merely knowing the existence of celebrated crap like Warhol's and his replicants, and I verge on apoplexy over the sort of excrement Charles mentions. I would relish an opportunity to splash cheap burgundy on someone loudly waxing his or her faux cerebral enthusiasm in a gallery over such pretentious "conceptual" garbage. Cold? Nah, maybe after the stroke puts me on a slab at the morgue. Sometimes just the word "art" gets me started. I realize laughter is the preferred alternative, and I should work on that.

Richard R. said...

To be fair, and I don't think many of you are being fair, when an artist starts with a blank canvas, or lump of clay, or stock of iron rods or whatever the medium, there's nothing there but a vision in the artist's mind. That vision is very personal, and whether it's abstract, or pictorial is up to the artist expressing the vision. Even in photography, the vision and result can look like what lots of people think of as "normal" or through lens choice, angle, distance, color balance and other techniques the photograph can be very abstract.

The artist makes those choices for him/herself, and the viewer can only react. But it's not fair to say "I don't like it, so it's no good." The decision of goodness is in the eye of the artist. You can say you think it's lousy, or you don't like the person who made it, but don't blame the work itself.

R.T. said...

I confess to being a fuddy-duddy with a preference for well-done representational rather than haphazard presentational art (i.e., I have little patience for any visual art that does not faithfully represent and celebrate the many glories of Nature). Yeah, I'm old-fashioned!

Mathew Paust said...

I don't like to be conned, and I think the Art Establishment perpetrates a huge commercial scam when it anoints bullshit as art. A friend pursuing a masters in fine arts at U. of Wis. told me success in art is, beyond the obvious technical mastery, personality. Personality is what snags the big bucks from suckers who allow the Art Establishment to dictate taste. As I am most definitely not of the Art Establishment anything I say about a piece or "school" of art is obviously my opinion and mine alone.

pattinase (abbott) said...

well, the thing is that once photography came along, representing the same thing photography could do was just less interesting. So although I like paintings of people, just people is not enough for me. It has to express something more.

Deb said...

The late Robert Hughes hosted a marvelous show on PBS in the early 1980s called THE SHOCK OF THE NEW. It covered modern art (starting at about the turn of the 20th century). It was an excellent overview of the first 80 years of "the new." Even then he was seeing the commodification of art...today it's really a shame that "art for art's sake" has been replaced by "I can't put everything in offshore accounts, let me but this canvas covered in dots."

Mathew Paust said...

Or a single dot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Circle

Cap'n Bob said...

I like the example you presented, Patti. It's not just a competent portrait, it's a view into a time and place. Like many others here, I'm not impressed by modern, non-representative art. And I resent it when some huckster tells me I'm not sophisticated because I think an all-black canvas isn't worth the match it would take to set it on fire.

R.T. said...

Postscript: Many of the hucksters and frauds in the contemporary art world would do well to read, study, and believe in classic aesthetics, or at least read, study, and believe in Keats: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. (lines 46–50)

Jerry House said...

About thirty yars ago, an art teacher told me that the current theory was that there was no such thing as "bad art." I'm not so sure about that. I do, however, appreciate most art I see. My favorite artist at the moment is Marc Chagall. (At times in the past I may have said Walt Kelly, or Chesley Bonestell, or Frederick Remington, or any one of a zillion others.) One of the most powerful paintings I had ever seen was at the Elizabeth Stewart Gardner Museum -- Rembrandt's "Storm on the Sea of Galilee." A few months later it was stolen in one of the biggest art heists of all time.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I love Chagall because he tells a story. Saw a great museum of his religious art in Nice.

Deb said...

Slightly off-topic, but a few years ago I listened to an art teacher trying to explain to a group of eighth graders how utterly new surrealism was when it first showed up in the art world. You could tell that these young people-- who had ALWAYS lived in a world where even a rudimentary familiarity with Photoshop makes it possible to mix and match the most wildly incongruous images--could not grasp how an image like Dali's melting clocks or Magritte's locomotive in the fireplace was stunning to its early-and-mid-century audience. It raised an interesting philosophical question: how do you explain any new cultural aspect to people for whom that aspect is their day-to-day reality?

/Rene Magritte is my favorite artist. "Time Transfixed" is my favorite of his works.

pattinase (abbott) said...

endlessly interesting!

Margot Kinberg said...

I can't really list artists or works that leave me cold. I suppose that's because I remember more the art that has really drawn me in. I do like Chagall very much, and (as different from Chagall as his work is!) I like Picasso, too - especially his cubist work.

J F Norris said...

Canvases with one color. Or stripes or some other minimalist expression. Doesn't seem like art to me at all. Seems like a mockery of art. Hipster art of all types turns me off as well, especially art that shows absolutely no skill in the rudiments of draftsmanship.

Richard's comment criticizing us for not appreciating "bad art" is something I listened to for hours on end in many college courses. I still don't buy it. I don't understand minimalist art at all. Some people do and pay a hell of a lot of money for it. Does that make it good? There is definitely a lot of bad art -- whether it be paintings, sculpture, plays, movies, novels, or what have you. Yes, I understand the concept of the artist's creation, it is his, he thought it up, and all the rest of it, but I don't think these concepts should apply to all attempts at making art in whatever medium. Some people are talented, some are not, and some are just frauds. Remember when "performance art" was all the rage? There's a whole category of crap art for you. Deb already mentioned Damien Hirst, contemporary art world's latest con artist. I'll stop before I go off on a rant.

I'm sort of fed up with irony in all art. It has its place but seems to have taken over in a very dangerous way. You can hear it when people talk as if they all thought they were hipster stand up comics. Ridicule replaces wit, mockery of human emotion is more acceptable than an understanding of it, empathy is disappearing and being replaced by indifference. I can appreciate something like the entire Dada movement which seemed to be ridiculing the idea of making art but was in fact a reaction to the madness of the world at war. How many artists are making art in reaction to world politics or world events these days? So much "modern art" seems to be self-indulgent nonsense that has no meaning except for the artist himself. Why must I "appreciate" that concept an artist came up with when it's either so impenetrable as to be alienating or so personal it might as well be an entry in a diary that no one but the writer should be reading?

pattinase (abbott) said...

I can enter a contemporary art gallery and not find one thing interesting or beautiful or relevant. Worst for me is installation art.
What I like most was the ashcan approach of the 1930s when art expressed the lives of ordinary people. I blame the museums for validating much of contemporary art.

Richard R. said...

It's - obviously - all relative. I like a lot of abstract art, including Kley, Pollack and others, but don't like even more of it, including Warhol. But art is art, and it's in the eye of the creator of it Our role is to see it or not, like it or not.

@ John, my comment wasn't meant as a criticism, sorry it sounded that way, I was just trying to differentiate between saying something is good or "crap" and saying you like it or don't, which are two different things.

I recently bought a piece of abstract art, which will be arriving in a couple of weeks, and I'll feature it on my blog. Then you all can say your say about like or crap or whatever. No, I won't be saying what I paid for it.

Mathew Paust said...

To be pissy, Richard, I disagree with your semantic distinction between the statements "I don't like Malevich's circles, squares, crosses, etc." and "Malevich's circles, squares, crosses, etc. are crap." Even were I a professional art critic, my opinion would be simply that. If art is subjective, then so is its appreciation, or lack thereof. Different, of course, were I an appraiser, measuring the commercial value of something. But, then, the marketplace can be fickle, too. The ultimate test might be closer to consensual than individual at some point. If people whose aesthetic judgment I value highly assure me unanimously that Malevich's circles, squares, crosses, etc. are sublime works of genius, I will probably take a closer look. But if I still can't find what they say is there, I'm apt to become a confirmed infidel. If the emperor's wearing no clothes, by jiggedy, no one will accuse me of pretending His Royal Naked Highness is smartly duded up.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Maybe it's politics, religion and art that gets us hot under the collar!

Rick Robinson said...

Matt, I bow to your all out, I guess there really isn't enough distinction between the semantics I provided .

Rick Robinson said...

That was supposed to be "call out". Dang auto thingy.

Mathew Paust said...

I apologize to you all, especially Rick, for my intemperate comments yesterday. I feel it necessary to blame something other than my own ill-natured self, so I'll pin it on the library's sluggish wifi router, which caused me to reboot every few minutes, it seemed. Then again, maybe I was coming down with something--stomach is a tad queasy this morning. Or was it the moon? Anyway, I'm regretful, and I hope you will forgive me. -- Matt

pattinase (abbott) said...

Nothing to forgive, Matt. All of my online pals are gentlemen and scholars and entitled to the occasional disagreement.

Mathew Paust said...

You're a sweetheart, Patti.

Cap'n Bob said...

I was thinking that a cash payout would be the right way to apologize, Mathew.

Mathew Paust said...

C'mon, now, Cap. You're among people of scruples!