Sorry, but I just don't get modern art.

Old Oct 24th, 2000, 06:32 AM
dan woodlief
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Something to ponder: If Christo covered the Teletubbies but there was nobody there to see them, would they be considered art (sort of a tree in the woods analogy), or would he be having just way too much fun for someone his age?

My favorite in the Pompidou is still the guy standing upside down with his head in a cement-filled bucket. At least I could pretend to understand a message behind it.
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 06:36 AM
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Dan, in answer to your question, the fabric-wrapped Teletubbies would only be art if they blew over and killed someone.
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 07:47 AM
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I have also put in my time taking art to elementary school classes and learned over the years that, while some things are sure-fire (find the skull in the Chagall church tower), almost anything can be interesting -- although it's much harder to engage Da Guys than the girls. The trick is to get a question into their mind _before_ they see the picture: "how do you paint the color white?" (Renoir's or Degas's women in white dresses), or "does it make a difference if an artist is left-handed?" (DaVinci). With non-objective art, the obvious question is "what do you see?" but we allow kids to answer that much more loosely than we allow educated grown-ups to answer the same question.

I think that's all an artist really wants, at core, though -- to come to the work with a question.

Dan, I think Christo would say the draped Teletubbies could be art, with or without a viewing audience, but I'm also not sure that would be entirely honest, since artists like Christo are never satisfied if they are the only ones ever to see their creation. They work to communicate, just not with words.

(I assume, Cindy, you're being flippant, because I can't find the logic in defining art as that which is harmful and/or newsmaking.)
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 08:13 AM
Neal Sanders
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Art Fan, I'm prepared to give 20th century art its space if for no other reason than to do otherwise would be to consign the last century to the creative dustbin. In my very humble opinion, that which withstands the test of time is art.

I draw the line, however, when today's savants -- as they too often do -- call any art that came before them "rote drawing exercises" or "slavish proto-realism bound by the tyranny of the four sides of a frame." In other words, "if me and my friends didn't do it, it ain't no good."

Unfortunately, the current art community is more exclusionary than inclusionary. In any serious art show, a painting done "in the traditional style" (in the aforementioned frame with four sides) will not be pass the initial jury screening. The art world is poorer for that discrimination.
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 10:24 AM
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Uh, oh. I didn't know artists took their Teletubbies so seriously. Sorry, Cass.
Old Oct 24th, 2000, 12:57 PM
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Actually, the Teletubbies ARE ART....Has anyone seen the giant Teletubbies posters on the walls of the Paris Subways? The translation (sort of) is "In London you can dress however you like". We took pictures of it and took the photo to my son's French Teacher who gives extra credit for bringing in the "saying of the day". As anyone can see, draped or not....Tinkie Winkie is an art form onto itself.....and an interactive one at that.
Old Oct 31st, 2000, 03:09 AM
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Artists push the envelope. A piece may sem mystifying and confusing or meaningless, but it is someone's creative process, which leads us forward, or if we choose, backwards. Art is the opposite of status quo. In his time, Picasso was confusing, Matisse was put down-today these guys have held their mark and are considered geniuses. The Impressionists that most of us love were considered shocking and mystifying in their time. Great art stands the test of time. In a hundred years we'll know better if Jeff Koons and Hockney and other current artists are great and ageless or just current figures. I suggest you relax, just take it in, go to the great museums like MOMA in New York to see the many directions modern art takes. And you might especially enjoy the play "Art," which addresses your question.

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