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11.30.2004

Observations on Modern Art

There are few things I love more than spending hours in a great art museum, and this is exactly what I was doing Sunday afternoon at the Met. I was sitting in the Modern Art wing in a room full of paintings by Clyfford Still when a though occurred to me, is it possible that modern movements like Abstract Expressionism are a big joke? Do you ever think that these artists are all sitting around a bar someplace having a good laugh at the expense of all of us out there trying to figure out their works? I am not a Philistine when it comes to art, just roll with me on this one for a bit.

Suppose that right around the time Abstract Expressionism was just starting to develop there was a group of art critics were sitting around and a little bored when they started discussing some unknown painter doing some weird stuff that was obviously crap. But after a little bit of discussion they decided that it wasn't so bad after all, and at least it was new, so they decide its the next wave for the art world, and it just rolled on from there.

Obviously this is not what happened, but my point is, when you put up something by Rothko, Klee, or Pollack against works by Rembrandt, van Gogh, or Monet do you feel like we have lost something? I'm not sure myself.

If I have to choose between only one section in the Met to visit for the rest of my life the decision would be very tough between 19th century European paintings and the Modern Art wing. I love Modern Art, mainly because of the subjectivity of the work, but sometimes I do wonder if it is too subjective? But those are just my thoughts...

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