what is modern art?
Is modern art even good art, or is it just trivial flicks and splatters of paint? I don't know if there is a definitive answer. When I think of modern art, I think of the 1940-50's painter Jackson Pollock. Pollock was famous for his drip and splatter paintings and his heavy role in the abstract expressionist movement.
At first glance, his artwork may seem less like artwork and more like meaningless strings of paint that may as well have been created by a preschooler, but those who support Jackson Pollock say that the beauty is in the emotion and the time, not the actual paintings themselves. In the 1940's, splatters weren't a recognized form of art. This was avant-garde, new and unique; it sparked people's thinking because of how experimental it was. Nowadays, people (including me) don't understand that, because they've seen art like this before and it's usually the product of a young child's work. We typically regard young children as less intelligent and refined because they don't have that much knowledge or experience in the world, and we then wrongly associate that with Jackson Pollock and his pieces. To really gain an understanding of this type of modern art, you have to first understand the mindset of people during time period in which it was created. And there are so many more things you must learn after that.
EXAMPLES OF AVANT-GARDE WORKS (SURREALISM, POINTILLISM, EXPRESSIONISM):
Avant-Garde, literally translating to "cutting edge" in French, is an artistic movement that produced such peculiar and individualistic paintings that it almost goes way over my head. There are surrealist paintings, like Salvador Dali's, that depict a thought or idea visually. I find this particularly interesting, especially when reviewing pieces like "The Persistence of Memory." It shows time as an object, through bending clocks and liquifying it's idea. The audience can feel how slow time is, how stretched and unhurried the hands of the clock seem to be as they tick, tick, tick away the seconds.
Other good examples of avant-garde are expressionist paintings, like Edward Much's "The Scream" which can be frustratingly haunting. To me, I find that the contrast between warm and cool colors (the orange against the blue) really creates a sort of dream-like state. That, paired with the wispy brush strokes and the strange form of the sea can really evoke ghostly whispers in your mind, which I find to be extremely chilling and that is exactly what Munch was trying to convey to his audience.
So, you can see that avant-garde works focus a lot more on the way the subject is being painted than what the subject is itself. And that is what Jackson Pollock was doing with his drip and splatter paintings. If you scroll back up to the first photograph on this post of Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm," maybe you see the colors and think of somebody bored and tangled up, but with glimmers of hope with the white splatters. I don't know. It's different for everybody- that's what's so intriguing about abstract art. There is no high-class or low-class abstract art. You aren't more educated if you know more about these pieces of art than somebody else, because what is there to know since everybody has a different perspective?
This is what makes abstract art so much more distinctive than other types of art, like classical music or opera. It is also why citizens of today should stop and appreciate this beauty, because there is none other like it, and I find that it can be extremely underrated.
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