Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Sunday, February 19, 2006

On Art, A Confusing Thing

Folks, I have my pretensions. I’m aware of that. But something I don’t get (yet, if ever) is the abstract stuff, when it comes to Art.

My brother’s the visual thinker in the family; always has been, always will be. Christine and I went to a pair of Smithsonian museums. One had abstract sculpture and art, the other housed more traditional work.

I consider myself a smart guy, but when it’s come to the art world, I’ve always drawn a blank. If it’s not something I immediately recognize, I don’t get it. With the exception of William Koonig (more on him later), I don’t think I appreciated two works at the abstract gallery.

Sculptures that looked like nothing I’d ever seen. Photographs of empty hallways. Buh guh huh? Call me a stickler. Call me a dummy. Call me an art hater. I just didn’t get it.

There’s more to follow, on which I’ll expound later. Ciao, folks.


  • At 4:09 PM, Blogger David Gorsline said…

    Dude, you can't expect to stroll into the Hirshhorn and "get" everything in one go, any more than you would expect to "get" the allusions in an eighteenth-century landscape painting or the attributes in a Medieval portrait of St. Catherine (the one with the wheel) without gradual exposure and a little homework. Depending on how you define "modern" or "abstract" art, you've got 100 to 150 years of material to react to. Some of it rubbish (Jeff Koons, IMO), some of it perplexing (I don't connect with Louise Bourgeois or Eva Hesse), some of it profound (Morris Louis), some of it meant to provoke mirth (Marcel Duchamps). The best artists of the period (Pablo Picasso and Gerhard Richter, in my book) are a little of all of these.

    If you're interested, we'll do a field trip together some time. All you need is an open mind and the willingness to ask questions.

    Interesting that you responded to Willem de Kooning. He is, shall we say, very aggressive about laying out his passions on the canvas.


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