Check out Let God sort ’em out, from Terry Teachout’s About Last Night. She was reviewing a book by Paul Johnson: Art: A New History. Her comments are “…it is fabulously energetic and violently opinionated, and thus as a result irresistibly readable–you can open it almost at random and find gems.”
More quotes from TT’s article:
She went on and talked about how some people rejected all modern arts non-discriminately, without first getting to know any of them.
I found this interesting because I myself do have a strong opinion regarding modern arts. I used to call those floors at SFMOMA that contains lots of art installment the “insane asylum”. Just the other day, we happened to walk in Philip Guston Retrospective, which earned plenty contemptuous remarks from me. But I don’t reject ALL modern arts. For example, I fell in love with this chair by Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata during SF MOMA’s grand opening back in 1995. I saw it again this past weekend. The picture here didn’t do its justice, when light shine on it from above, you would be able to see the shadows of those frozen roses on the floor as well. It was dream like. Pure beauty.
I reject “ugly” art.
My sister didn’t agree with me, she thinks there are plenty great arts that are not shy to show ugliness. I started to understand that after I saw Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) again this Spring at MOMA Queens, NYC. It was a painting I used to dismiss as ugly. But that time, I saw more than just the hush lines and confrontational forms. There was something deeper in it, something humane, and…true.
So maybe most modern arts’s main purpose is no longer to show beauty, but to show “truth”, or to “provoke” thinking. If that is the case, then everyone must have an individual upper limit when facing a thought-provoking piece of art. Right now, my limite stops with Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.