Why Is Modern Art So Bad?

Discussion in 'Art, Media & Photography' started by bostjan, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    Ive often wondered this myself.

    Its not like people being brilliant at art is dwindling either. If anything, the work people can produce these days is absolutely stunning. (mostly talking about realism and lifelike drawings/paintings)

    and instead we get abstract or splash/splatter nonsense on a canvas instead?

    The hilarious part of it is when it looks like you just threw all your own paintbrushes at the canvas to create a mess, then have the audacity to pretend the "piece" represents some deep meaningful nonsense.
     
  2. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    Maybe you're looking at those works with a formatted mind set, formatted by the idea that in order to have meaning, you have to understand its forms. That is simply not true to anything art related (music included). Art is expression, either you understand it or you don't, either you like it or you don't. These options don't mean some piece is not art nor that it is, it also doesn't mean it is well done or it's a crap. Everything has its purpose in art, either the author knows it or doesn't and that's the beauty of it, it is limitless... even when some limits are way outrageous...

    The main focus/purpose of Art is to move the audience/spectator into an altered state of mind. That can be achieved with several different and sometimes opposed paths, and "altered state of mind" can have many different expressions (rage, awe, indifference, calm, meditation, whatever). Therefore, abstract expressions are as valid as figurative ones.

    Questions to think about:
    • What is abstract art expression? As soon as it is spoken, it no longer is abstract, it is a splash or a geometric pattern or some other shapeless gradient...
    • What is figurative art expression? Some modeled form that one can relate to some known object, however, made entirely out of something different like paint or food leftovers? As soon as we pay attention to the details, the figure no longer exists...
    • What is the longevity of art? is it forever? or is it to last only a few seconds?...
    Once one gets a firm grip on possible answers for these questions, one may start to appreciate some less common (more difficult to understand) art expressions. Until then, laugh or cry at will if you feel like before Tapies, Bacon or Pollock for example...

    In other words, ART is like the sand on the beach, it's fun to play with and gets everywhere.
     
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  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire 8 string hoarder

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    my favorite was when I watched someone cut a hole in their jeans and pour chef boyardee down the their pant leg and say that it's representative of menstruation. Or when that one douchebag literally starved a dog to death as a performance piece back in the 70s.

    God I hate it when people try to overanalyze art or try to overexplain it. Not everything needs to mean something, sometimes it's just fun to paint random squigglies. Don't tell me your drunken paint splatters are somehow of a deeper meaning than my flower-vagina metaphor paintings.
    [​IMG]
    Some of the art major kids I met back when I was taking a lot of art classes in college were such pretentious douchebags. I remember one time in a figure drawing class he had the gall to claim that his drawing didn't suck, only that we couldn't handle his visual representation of reality. I don't know how many of those kind of tools I've run into who try to justify their lack of technical ability by going "but it's muh style". There's nothing wrong with trying to develop a personal style of artwork/how you approach techniques but you need a good technical foundation first imo. It's like building a house with an uneven foundation and then claiming the flaw was a conscious design choice/part of your style.
     
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  4. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    So Vincent Van Gogh had a good foundation in art technique, is that what you mean?

    Because there lots of douchebags, doesn't mean that everything alike is garbage, does it?

    Kurt Cobain had almost none music knowledge and that didn't stop him from leading a music movement back in the 90s, did it?

    The thing is, who am I (or you) to say something is not art?

    More on this, the ART object has its own life, independent from the author's initial will and that doesn't mean it is wrong, only that it evolved.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
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  5. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire 8 string hoarder

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    I was more referring to people who won't even attempt to draw figures in a realistic manner and develop their technical ability and line fluency than ranting about style in general. I know there's no hard and fast rules about being a technical draftsman first but I like to think of it in terms of painting. It's like starting with a palette that has 30 colors versus one that has 1 or 2. Sure you can still paint great art with a super limited palette but it's a lot easier when you have the right tools. I don't think Michelangelo could have painted the sistine chapel in the same manner if he lacked technical ability (like understanding perspective/contrast/contour, etc) or had a poor understanding of human anatomy.

    I'll use comic book artists as an example: Jim Lee and Leinil Yu are widely considered to be some of the best pencillers in the business and they both have extensive technical ability and line fluency. Rob Liefeld is also a successful comic book artist who has some of the worst proportions and lack of anatomy I've ever seen in a figure drawing. He also responsible for the horrifying artwork that people think of when they think of Image Comics. There's a difference between subtle distortion of limbs (like El Greco commonly did) or enhancing certain proportions (ie draw bigger breasts) and what Liefeld does.
    Jim Lee:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][/URL]

    Leinil Yu:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Rob Liefeld:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    For anyone that doesn't quite get why his art is considered "worse". Here's why, he adds muscles that aren't there (this is a huge issue), he also has huge trouble with proportions, he doesn't understand how arm muscles work (a bicep is not going to flex when the arm is straight, it relaxes). Seriously it looks like his characters all injected synthol into their upper limbs.
    The captain america picture shows that he doesn't understand perspective, etc.
    Compare those to Yu and Lee's works and they consistently exhibit superior understanding of human anatomy/how to draw it but they also consistently have better composition/linework. Like I said in the beginning of my post, all of them are successful artists but not all are widely respected (Liefeld is considered a laughingstock in a lot of comic circles).
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
  6. CrazyDean

    CrazyDean SS.org Regular

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    What I find interesting about art as opposed to other forms of expression is that once you're famous, you can pretty much do whatever you want. I recently went to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC where there was a huge Robert Rauschenberg exhibit. One of his exhibits was a shipping box that gotten wet. How does that deserve to be in the same museum as a Dali or Van Gogh?

    If a musician makes a bad album or a director makes a bad movie, they get called out. Why do we not do the same for artists?

    As with music or movies, not everyone is going to like any one thing. However, it is a little confusing as to how the dollar value correlates to certain pieces of art.
     
  7. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire 8 string hoarder

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    Modern art is a joke and it all started with Miro/lichtenberg/pollock/warhol. People started treating art moreso as a financial investment than an emotional one. Warhol/Basquiat also helped perpetuate the idea that all you need to sell bad art is a good story. That's the only reason garbage (imo) like Basquiat or Hirsch ends up in a legit museum. The process of creating the garbage art/their story of the meaning of their art ends up being more important than the actual art itself. Pietro Manzoni essentially took a crap in some steel containers and they were displayed in a modern art museum. modern art is literally shit.
     
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  8. Necris

    Necris Bonitis.

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  9. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    You know, Michael Angelo also did invent some nonexistent muscles in his studies, but then, even the scientific community is unsure about the number of muscles the human body has, it is all on how one counts them.

    Again, you're focusing on the object qualities, not on the action/thoughts that lead to it. ART is not only the object itself, but the whole context. Marcel Duchamp created The Fountain, an urinol flipped upside down and signed with a marker pen in a time where that was unthinkable. He was a daredevil, always in the quest for chocking people until he got tired and dedicated himself to Chess (world class player, btw). So, modern ART is not about "how good one is with his craft" but more on "how good you are with your thoughts on the unthinkable". In a way it is like connecting the dots between lots of voids in society. You find a hole somewhere? That's where some art will sprout. ART is about the voyage of the thought on possibilities, rather than the object that carries the message. Everyone+1 remembers the LOVE sculptures from Robert Indiana. Those are "just" some Times like font extruded and painted red. What's the fuss about those? though no one seams to disagree on the artistic aspect of them. The artistic object itself is no longer forced to carry "beauty" anymore. Forget that, that's a romantic thought of art, it's 200 years old already!

    Robert Indiana's LOVE
    [​IMG]

    Art is statement, it is a blunt "FUCK YOU, I'M HERE AND YOU'RE NOT". There's nothing else to get, it is that simple, everything else is dust in the eyes. Though it may sound awkward, it is also revealing and enlightening, for it soothes one into peace of mind and, rejoice, it may also lead you to the joy of understanding the stupidity of some (please read and understand as many/most) curators...

    The artists are never to blame, only the curators are... that's where modern art comes from... unfortunately.
     
  10. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire 8 string hoarder

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    He is pure cancer upon the comics industry. the only other artist I can think of with such severe
    Give me one example where Michelangelo invented a muscle. His drawings came from working with real models and it's easy to tell the difference between Michelangelo and how Liefeld draws. Michelangelo may have been lazy at times and just added breasts to male models, but he still pulls it off better than Liefeld drawing fucking leg-arms with atrophied deltoids/muscles flexing when they should be relaxing, etc. Michelangelo had the prerequisite technical ability to be able to make the idea of drawing breasts on a man's body work. He understood contour, contraposto, how the muscles present beneath the skin, etc. Liefeld does not.
    Most art is extraneous. It serves no purpose unless it's adorning a practical object or it's incorporated into something that will be used regularly. I would argue that art SHOULD be beautiful (even if it's ugly subject matter) since there's no other reason for it to exist. Composition, framing, line work, all of those things matter and can make simple art/designs beautiful. There's no room for non-art pretending to be art anymore, that ship sailed back when Manzoni and Duchamp started creating garbage only for shock value imo. It's so played out and boring nowadays that there should be a backlash towards lazy cheap art like that. Art that lacks form or function is the worst kind of art imo. It exists solely to exist, like some amorphous totem to nihilism.
    I'm not disagreeing that the curators are part of the problem, but the artist still has to be willing to peddle his art (whether it's literal shit in a can or an extreme close up realistic portrait a la Chuck Close). The artist is as much to blame for making bad art as the curator is for showing it/promoting it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
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  11. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    About Michael Angelo, I'll try to find some references, since it was a lecture I attended to a few years ago given by an anatomy teacher (she is an Ophthalmologist lecturing human anatomy at the Fine Arts University in Lisbon), so it may take some time. Or, as so I remember the lecture, I may be mistaken here and I'm not speaking of those manly female sculptures you speak of. I remember Albrecht Dürer's rhinoceros... an excellent piece of art with terrible anatomy structure, this was made in the 16th century. Dürer was an anatomist with lots of measurements taken to men, women and children in order to find the "perfect" proportions and made the following representation of a rhino. Truth be told, it was made by following texts and not by actually seeing one live (even if dead). As far as I know about this part of art history, Dürer never met a real rhino. Nevertheless his effort is grand and is a piece of art. There are also his lion studies... they look really funny, but are regarded as art nevertheless.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    How is this different to Rob Liefeld art work? Yeah, his designs may be a little awkward and funny, but he does masters textures and gradients...

    The thing about art is that as soon as one gets some education on it, one can argue whatever one wants, however, it doesn't mean it will become the main stream truth, it's just a point of view. When I say Artists are not to blame, they aren't because many times the exposed piece is not what the artists wants but what the curator thinks is appropriated for the exhibition. It is often that the curator chooses an unfinished piece or one that the author thinks it is bad. Also often the curators specifically asks for a piece that the authors has to put out in order to have his worked exposed. I've had exhibitions where my worst painting was the first to be sold and those I though to be prime pieces weren't even checked... go figure.

    Today's art is not based on how pretty a piece is nor how controlled the gradient or proportions are, nor even how near the truth/reality the figuration is. It is about CONTRAST and not only those visual contrasts of color tones (hot/cold, bright/dark, saturation/grey, etc...) or forms, but specially those about context, either cultural, social or simply because it hasn't been done yet. If there is enough contrast, it can be understood as an art form (if given the push in that direction), and that's what happens (imo) with those like Rob Liefeld, they put out some contrast, some big enough difference to the main stream that grants then a spot at the sun. There are so many situations like these. It is not about "quality" anymore, but more on how big of contrast you are (your work is) to those around you, that's what will make you noticed... that and the surprise feeling (freshness, mystery) one gets when exposed to.

    In the end, it all resumes to what the client or curator likes and doesn't like. I've read room texts on exhibitions that were totally unreadable due to forced neologisms and incoherent idea flows. These all made by highly though of curators.

    EDIT: the following images are studies where Michael Angelo clearly exaggerates existent human muscles... lots of imagination here... Don't get me wrong, lots of talent here, exceptional drawing skills, but some incorrect muscular anatomy. These aren't mistakes, more on the experiment side of art, which may happen also these days. On a side note, Michael Angelo was the most well payed artist, EVER, even today...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  12. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    As someone who is "uneducated" in art, this all comes across as pretentious nonsense. As soon as you start telling people what art is supposed to mean to them, you've lost me. I've nothing against an artist being very intentional and trying to make a particular statement, but you don't get to decide how art is received. If your audience decides the art is garbage, well then too bad, they think it's garbage. "Art" is the most subjective thing I can think of- if there is a "point" to art, it's that it's point is defined by the individual, not necessarily the artist or the piece itself. It can mean one thing to the artist, and the opposite to the audience. It can mean something entirely different to every person who encounters it. And each person has the right to interpret a bit of art as garbage regardless of the intent of the artist.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
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  13. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Sometimes I think we might be half brothers or something. :lol:
     
  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    :lol: We do seem to agree on a lot of things.

    IMO, doesn't matter how good it is, all art has some element of being garbage to it. :lol: Like I'll justify all the heavier music I like as being "art" to get past other people's inability to comprehend it - and it's not that calling it art isn't valid - but it doesn't negate that you can still break it down to a bunch of weirdos screaming and making noise for not much purpose. I'm willing to recognize and embrace that there's an element of "this is actually kinda garbage" to a lot of things I enjoy.

    Like in the last year or so I've been enjoying a lot more dirty/ugly/fuzzy/terrible guitar tones that are great because of how bad they are. I don't need to pretend anything is "good" on some level to enjoy it. :lol:
     
  15. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire 8 string hoarder

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    From everything I've read about Michelangelo he worked regularly with male models (many of whom were physical laborers) which explains their lean/muscular physiques. iirc, he also worked with corpse dissections which would be even leaner due to fluid loss as the corpse dries out. I don't see any glaring anatomical issues in his work, and considering his work has been studied for hundreds of years I'm sure we would have heard more about any serious issue by now.
    I don't understand why you're trying to defend Liefeld's work, given the subject matter he regularly works on you can tell that he hasn't put in the same amount of time to master his craft as Lee or Yu. If you're going to draw the human figure/face in a semi-realistic style then realism should basically apply. It's the uncanny valley when humans don't look like they're supposed to (which admittedly can be used as a stylistic choice) but the underlying issue is that Liefeld lacks the anatomical understanding necessary to make them look correct. I wouldn't lump Durer's studies in with Liefeld either, since as you said he was working from text descriptions of the animals, not having actually seen them. Durer was an amazing draftsman like Michelangelo and spent extensive time doing figure drawing as well, so that argument goes out the window. Liefeld lacks the underlying anatomical/perspective drawing foundation that many classically trained artists have and it shows up blatantly in his work. Liefeld generally does the pencilling, he's not responsible for inking the work, so you can't even give him credit for use of textures/gradients, that's more so whoever inks his work.
    Some pics of bodybuilders to compare to Michelangelo's studies:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    So in the back study he does seem to have an extremely lean model, as that's the only way to see some of the musculature he drew, but none of it is indisputably wrong like what Liefeld draws.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  16. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    @TedEH call me whatever you like. I'm not trying to teach anything, only to give some context on modern art. You forgot to quote me on the "FUCK YOU, I'M HERE, YOU'RE NOT" statement that in a way clarifies what really is going on in the actual/present art creation process. Many artists, if not most, don't really care for mine, yours or anyone's likes on their work, educated or not in the area. Also, art is the most useless thing man produces, really, it has no other purpose besides existing, does it? So why bother? It however has the ability to join people... go figure. You're right, I have no right to decide how art is received nor what any individual piece it means to any individual person (never said such thing), we have different educations... how does that proves anything? That is a clear statement of the obvious.

    I think it was a grand grand father of mine (so the story is told to me) that at a painting exhibition said "these works are shit" unknowingly right besides the author, to which he got the author's reply "excuse me sir, what do you know about art or painting?". He then answered "you're right, I do not know anything about art, but I do about shit. this is shit."... end of conversation, or so I'm told.

    @KnightBrolaire nevertheless, it is known some clear exaggeration on muscular representation from Michelangelo. As "studies" means, those were not about the end product, but the path to it. While walking down the road to excellence, one may fall many times. I've never seen any major deformity in his works besides those female boobs on man bodies at Medici's resting place and in David's oversize head and hands. However, in David, these are intentionally for it was supposed to be seen way high and in this way it would somehow compensate the foreshortening point of view.

    I'm not defending Liefeld, only questioning the attitude of an easy bashing on things we sometimes don't take the time to study or understand. I think I've had already proven that NOT ALL MODERN ART IS BAD, right? Yeah, sometimes it really is, and maybe that's its purpose, maybe not, the thing is that it exists and what do you do about it, bashing... does that makes you feel better?, I doubt it. Starving a dog to death is not art, is cruelty and if it is brought up as an art object, the stupidity lies with the curator, the criminal (not artist, may I say) and all of those who applaud it. Yes, sometimes we have to simply say "NO", but not always. Again, in the Liefeld case, I wonder who published him? Who promoted him, who got into having his works being colored and printed? Who gave him stories to illustrate? That's not only on him, there's a team behind and every team has its captain and agendas... he is just a pawn in the money process, he is not to blame on having been published, unless it was a self made edition (which I highly doubt since it has the Marvel stamp on it). Through his eye one will probably see the "FUCK YOU, I'M HERE, YOU'RE NOT" point of view... again who cares?

    :::

    It is easy to bash something really quick, based on preconceive ideas of how things should be. Yeah, we're told by our education models where things fit and don't fit, what is morally accepted or not, what is this, what is that and sometimes we rebel against those (which shows intelligence). However, when we're confronted against something we don't clearly understand we're fast on the trigger, really fast and then we are just mirroring the prejudice we have rebelled against earlier... just saying it is a regular situation everywhere for everyone (me included) and it clearly marks an overall conjuncture of main stream thought. In order to progress, one must not think outside the box, only that there is no box...
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  17. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    My point wasn't to say that I think you in particular are pretentious, but that I can't get behind the idea of trying to apply a bunch of rules on how to interpret art in order to backup your differences of opinion/interpretation. I'd say "the whole point is that people will disagree!" but even that would be imposing my idea of "the point" onto the subject. There isn't a point. If there is a point, it's invented by the artist, or the viewer, etc., and not necessarily shared with anyone else.

    Or to put it another way:

    If I say I don't like a piece of art because X, you can't respond with "but art isn't about X", or "you just don't understand what the artist was trying to do". Says who? Why isn't art only about the object itself? IMO these parts of art are just as subjective as every other part of it.
     
  18. odibrom

    odibrom .

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    I believe I used the word "only" in the context of "ART is not only the object itself", to which you should have replied with "but art isn't JUST about X", which would be correct... I think.

    The 2nd quote you made of me is in the context of art within the author's perspective, which I think is understandable. However, everyone is an artist when feeling art, everyone has the ability to recreate any piece of art within his/hers own thoughts and that is as creative as being the author of the art. The possibility of free interpretation makes us all artists...
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  19. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire 8 string hoarder

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    Well like I said in my previous posts, both the artist and the curator are responsible for bring shitty art into the public eye. There's a large difference between intentionally distorting anatomy (a la El Greco or Michelangelo's David/men with breasts) and not understanding it (Liefeld).
     
  20. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    My point stands. To some, art IS only about the object on it's own.
     

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