Thursday, January 8, 2009

Art: Separated at Birth

While seated at a doctor's appointment the Pink Cowboy overheard a lively conversation between two men. They were talking about the follies of modern art, specifically about some pieces of monumental modern sculptures outside the building. "I don't see the point in it, I don't understand it, I mean, anybody could have done that...and they call it art? Well I just remembered good old jolly St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) stating that the one thing he was grateful for was that he understood EVERYTHING he ever read. I can only claim to understand 34.5% of everything I read...and that's during the course of a caffeine binge. Art has always been under appreciated by many. To each his own. But just because you do not understand something does not mean that it will not reveal itself to you at some time or another. You see, art for me is always human, always changing. Art is a form of intelligence that goes beyond language and description to foray into the psychological and emotional spheres of experience. Oh dear, that sounds quite lofty, but the point I am trying to make is that art is a suggestion; more than often a persuasion that dares you to look beyond the obvious and the commonplace.

Take these two pieces as examples. One is the famous statue of Apollo Belvedere of classical antiquity fame and the other is a photo I took of Piece No.3 Vertebrae (1968) by Henry Moore (1898-1986) at The Nasher Museum of Sculpture in Dallas. I see a pair of twins. Mind you, The Pink Cowboy has notions all of his own. That is the way it reveals to me. O.K, they are not identical twins but they carry the same DNA. I would imagine that any talented sculptor could render reliable copies of them. But that is only technique. What about originality, composition, creativity and vision? I did not dare to tell my fellow denizens at the doctor's of my admiration of modern sculpture, I was not invited into the conversation. But I wish I was part of THAT very important conversation if only to convey the immense pleasure I have derived from the contemplation and study of art. Many times art has saved me from myself in the form of my own stubborn prejudices and utter ignorance about many aspects of the human condition. When I fill my mind with art-thoughts I feel I am in communion with the eternal aspect of humanity. Art is a wondrous teacher and ally if you give it a chance. Art articulates reality and being in such a way that it elevates human expression into a universally UNDERSTOOD language.


Keri said...

my daughter has scoliosis, so i particularly appreciate the vertebrae.
i love how you describe art as emotional. i totally agree.

Janelle said...

art has to do something to me. anything. change something. either the way i think or see. it must have an impact either way - +ve or -ve or simply pleasurable. i love it. as you say, its created intelligence. its personal. its revealing. to repeat myself, delighted to discover you! xx j

The Machinist's Wife said...

Just today we were talking about art over cups of caffeine, and you go and write about it, PC. Fancy that!

The sculpture reminds me of a set of "snobs" or "knuckles", which is a game my sweet mam used to play as a girl. Originally, the snobs were actually washed and dried boney joints off some animal carcass, recenty enjoyed as a Sunday lunch. Later, the shapes were copied and moulded out of hard plastic, and became a school fad.

To get back to our conclusion of art earlier today, it's definitely in the eye / mind / heart / soul of the beholder, maybe not always universally recognised and enjoyed in the same way, but able to move someone, somewhere at some time or other.

Great post!

Steph said...

Most people are intellectually lazy: they don't want to think, they want everything laid out for them. Look at canned laughter on TV, as only a small example. Tell me when something's funny, dammit!

The contemplation of art is dead to most of American society not only because it forces us to think, but it also forces us to confront ourselves, something else most people don't want to do. As a classical composer, I run into this all the time.

We are becoming Rome, when art was swallowed up by blood sport. Today as then, people would rather roar in an arena than sit in a concert hall or walk through a museum.

Cynthia said...

So true. When I'm really in a funk, it's art to the rescue. If something bothers me in an artpiece, I wonder what it is that I'm connecting with...why does it disturb? I need to ponder on my emotions and sometimes let something go. Art is feeling power communicated with mental skill through emotional hands. Excellent photos. TPC rides again!

willow said...

I don't understand people who think they have to understand everything. Can't they just appreciate an art form for it's own particular beauty? I agree with Steph. Most people, especially Americans, unfortunately, are just plain intellectually lazy. Oy.

The Pink Cowboy said...

I fully agree with Steph. I never thought of canned laughter as a metaphor for intellectual lazines. How clever. I very satisfied in the way my post on art provoked all your intelligent commentaries. Thanks!