Today a friend and I went to the Tate Modern art gallery, as part of our shared crusade to see as many culturally and/or tourist-ly significant London landmarks as possible. While we were there we saw a lot of really fantastic art.
We also saw a great deal of Art.
Modern Art is a tricky subject. It's easy to stray to one end of the love/hate spectrum or the other. So, before I get too carried away, let me say there were a great many pieces in the gallery that I really think were fantastic, both asthetically and artistically.
But there was an equal amount of absolute wank.
Maybe it's because I'm a total philistine, but I can't see how a metal cot, a paper cut out of an irregular octagon stuck to a wall, or a pile of dirty (and very smelly) clothes can be considered high Art. Honestly, there were Artworks there that I could have created, and I am the first to admit the limits of my visual arts capabilities.
I'm sure if I took this attitude to a proper Art Appreciator I would be shouted down with cries of "originality!". Sure anyone can paint an entire canvas red, but - and here's the crux of the matter - nobody else though of it. So, upon reflection, I have come up with a list of reasons why I have yet to make my fortune as a Modern Artist
1) I am not an artistic genius - This would seem the most obvious answer. However I have too much faith in my own abilities to simply accept this and move on. I'm talented, bitches.*
2) My parents stifled me - In one of the rooms there was an Artwork that took up most of one wall that looked basically like the kind of collage most people create in kindergarten. I suspect the difference bewteen most people and the Artist is that when he took his craft home, Mummy showered him with kisses and love and home made deliciousness before pinning the "masterpiece" up on the already overflowing fridge, instead of cooing for the requisite half a minute then sending the craftwork on it's way to the great recycling centre in the sky.
3) I'm trying too hard - Everyone know that in order to be an Artist you need to be completely true and open to your feeling, both good and bad. Without real self knowledge, how can you create real Art? Some kind of emotional voyage of self discovery is clearly called for. Just let go.
4) I'm not trying hard enough - Art is about structure, dedication, technique. You have to understand concepts before you can make them your own.
I seriously doubt there is any deeper meaning behind a video of rubbish being blown around in the breeze that hasn't alread been explore in American Beauty (so much for originality, huh?) (postmodernism, yo). Who decides what is and isn't Art, anyway? Whoever it is, I want that job.
*Side project: In order to prove I can be just as ridiculous and pretentious as any Artist(e), I have come up with a Modern Art project. Every day I'm going to take a photo of my friend, Isabel. Every single day. For a year. (Promise). It will be called 365 Days of Isabel, or actually something much better and more meaningful when I think of it.