Not Understanding the Art

@much2say (40097)
United States
March 4, 2018 11:01am CST
Not all art is understood. I am an artist and even I will say that. My middle school daughter's art class went on a short field trip to a small gallery. I went along with them. The showcased artist was part of the assemblage movement - in short, taking found objects and "assembling" them together to create art. Out of respect for the artist, I will not mention his name. This exhibit was during a period when the artist had access to a surplus yard. It literally looked like he took a few pieces from it and placed them together, as is, to make large thingamabobs - um, er, sculptures. With no docent and only a small bio to be read off the wall, there were many question marks on the kids' faces. The instructors didn't even look particularly interested . You don't have to read this part. It is good to know the background of an artist and to see how he/she came to develop his/her art. Understanding "development" helps to interpret art - and if you know this artist, you would understand that this was just one of his sides at the time. Minimalist found art/sculpting, I guess. The particular style in the exhibit we saw was not the style he is most known for. And that is what I explained to my daughter later. So what did I do with my daughter? With each sculpture, I situated her so it looks like she's standing, sitting, leaning, holding, or even popping out of the art pieces - and photographed each one (don't worry, not one bit was actually touched). The instructors loved how we were interacting with the art - they thought it was a great idea and got a huge kick out of our photos. I think we added to the concept of found art and collage! As we walked out of the gallery, I heard many of the kids grumbling "I didn't get it". The way this field trip was handled, it appeared not much was gained from it - but my daughter and I sure made something of it . Do you ever "not get" art? Do you keep scratching your head or do you research further to try to understand a certain artist?
29 people like this
28 responses
@DianneN (82574)
• United States
4 Mar
Too bad you couldn't share your photos here. We are art lovers, but neither my husband nor I ever found abstract art appealing. Some we've found interesting, but that's about it.
7 people like this
@topffer (35586)
• France
4 Mar
She does not want to give us a chance to enjoy the art... and to identify the artist.
5 people like this
@DianneN (82574)
• United States
4 Mar
4 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
5 Mar
@DianneN @topffer I'm trying to figure out how to get the photos off my phone - I think I got it. But will have to crop my daughter out. Will post photos in other comments where I can. I tried to find a link to his stuff, but I can't find "this" style of his onilne!
2 people like this
@teamfreak16 (41175)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
10 Mar
There is a lot of art that I don't "get." I still admire it because I just can't think that way. I am not able to see something and think that I can create something out of it.
3 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
13 Mar
I can think "that way", but for me to produce an art piece like that is not my thing.
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (41175)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
14 Mar
@much2say - I just see junk and stuff. I admire that they can turn nothing into something cool.
1 person likes this
@rebelann (42496)
• El Paso, Texas
5 Mar
Yeah, I don't get the Picasso stuff for example. And judging from what you wrote about the surplus stuff being used to create a sculpture I just have to wonder. I've seen photos of stuff like that but I find it hard to believe it's considered art.
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
5 Mar
This guy has some other metal sculptures - more for what he is known for (although I had never heard of him until this day) - and those are actually kinda cool. But these pieces seriously look liked "stuff" that was just put together or left there .
2 people like this
@rebelann (42496)
• El Paso, Texas
5 Mar
Anymore it seems anyone can call what they do art @much2say I saw something online about garbage .... well, garbage to me at least .... put together in what the "artist" felt was artistic and someone actually called it art. Hmmmm, do ya suppose if I took all the old plastic jugs, forks, spoons and stuff like that and glued it all together they'd let me call that art too?
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
13 Mar
@rebelann I can totally understand how anyone can put together something and declare it to be "art". Ok, fine. But to go out there, command an audience and try to make a living doing that - that is a whole 'nother matter. Your plastic jugs and utensils reminds me of an art project I did in college ! Well, it was an art "project" - not exactly "art" .
2 people like this
• United States
12 Mar
Sounds like a fun way to do art!! Very creative and I am sure she had fun. Was this field trip for her art class perhaps? I don't get art at times too especially ones I could totally do
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
13 Mar
Yah, the art program that she is in is taking everyone on that (walking) trip, 2 classes at a time each week - we were the first. I can try to understand what the artist was after, but well, that doesn't mean I necessarily like it .
2 people like this
• United States
13 Mar
@much2say If they can compose art we can totally do so too.
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
19 Mar
@infatuatedbby Anyone can! It's one thing to say it is art, but it's another thing to try to sell art for a living - that's actually tough.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (42713)
• Germany
4 Apr
@much2say @topffer I have a great interest in art, old and modern alike. I'm grateful for a good guide to help me get the idea behind an artefact. It's not said that I like an artefact even after a brilliant interpretation but I can at least understand it. It's so easy to make fun of modern art and many people - also intelligent ones - revel in making ludicrous remarks. They obviously get a kick out of it, maybe feel a sense of superiority. Many people who do this love to say that one can't understand modern art whereas 'old' art is at least understandable. It is not! It is easier on the eye, yet that doesn't mean that the onlooker understands it. Renaissance art, for example, has so many allusions to, say, Greek mythology that without background information you only see a meaningless colourful picture. Are there people nowadays who make fun of impressionist art and claim that it's nonsense as nobody can understand it? I don't think so. Yet, this happened when the first impressionist paintings appeared in art galleries. Interesting, innit?
2 people like this
@MALUSE (42713)
• Germany
4 Apr
@topffer I know what queuing for art means. Once I wanted to see an exhibition of impressionist art which was extremely successful. I travelled by train for one hour to the city where the museum is. After waiting outside for about one hour and hardly moving forward, I returned to the station and went home again.
2 people like this
@topffer (35586)
• France
4 Apr
@MALUSE It was mainly an exhibition of impressionists, "The Dutch in Paris", in the Petit Palais. Many paintings from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Some Jongkind and Breitner too. And a few artists before and after the impressionists : Ary Scheffer, Van Dongen, Mondrian, etc.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (70723)
• United States
4 Mar
I would love to see some of the photos that was displayed there.To give us an idea
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
5 Mar
Here's one photo - I had to cut out my daughter in the background. Art?
2 people like this
@DianneN (82574)
• United States
5 Mar
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Mar
@much2say that certainly is a conversation piece
2 people like this
@topffer (35586)
• France
4 Mar
My opinion is that if you need to know the biography of the artist and to have a speech from the artist to understand the art, it is not art. From the 1980's to the early 2000's I have seen a lot of these "artists" : they had often a brilliant speech about their approach, but if you were removing the speech there was nothing left to appreciate and to permit to understand the art by yourself. When it comes to "dump art", the best I remember was somebody who was piling up vehicle wrecks. I would not tell that there was not some thinking in the piling, like piling up several cars of the same color or creating a color palette with cars aligned on the flank, but, frankly speaking, if you were asking to ordinary people what they were thinking of it, many could become violent or mean, especially if the "sculpture" was occupying for a month the park space where they were usually parking their car to go to work. I would also become mean if I was telling you how these artists of ephemeral art are installing it in a museum. They do not use photographies to make their installation look like the previous one in a previous museum. That would be just good for a copycat. It seems that your artist had assembled/fixed his finds together. He/she would make a better living if it had to be assembled by the artist each time the works are exhibited.
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
5 Mar
Oh, I actually totally agree! The art should speak for itself. But something I learned from my modern art history instructor long ago was an approach to "trying" to understand certain pieces of art when it's not quite obvious . Like how we can read into writings, we can read into art as well . . . and boy, being able to stretch the interpretation into words helped me to survive the papers we had to write . But I do find an interest in the development of an artist and how they arrived at their particular styles. I often think of Jackson Pollack. I'm not a fan, and I know many who say they can produce the same type of painting with no talent or thought. But if you look into his past art, the man can actually draw well . . . but somehow he took to the "process" of paintings - the basis of his "art" - and that splattered style is what he had become known for. I can appreciate that, but it doesn't mean I like it . The piling of cars . . . oh my . . . junk art or junk yard ! I don't doubt about the installations. We went to an non-permanent exhibit where a glass artist had these floral looking pieces put together to make one gigantic looking organic form that was hung high atop the ceiling. We asked a guide how in the world these pieces were transported and placed exactly right for the exhibit. She said there were people who knew the artist and they were an installation team that fit the pieces together as they knew what the artist wanted . I suppose it changes with each exhibition - maybe that's part of the concept ?
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
13 Mar
@topffer Art is in the eye of the beholder ? At the same time, I do have concerns about what the people upstairs think about art (and science for that matter) as that goes on the chopping block when budgets are concerned. It is unbelievable to me (in reading comments online about it) that some think the arts have no value in society - they have no respect for art period !
1 person likes this
@FayeHazel (19112)
• United States
11 Mar
Oh yes, I love how you interacted with the art! But I also understand not "getting" an artist. I have seen "found item" art turn out really cool when the things are transformed, painted, combined with other unlikely things to make a whole that makes sense..... but sometimes it's really bad, doesn't appeal to me, etc. For example, I "don't get" Jackson Pollock. I know he did his drip painting with feeling, but.... still...
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
13 Mar
If you see this guy's other stuff, it's actually quite colorful and funky - whimsical. But I don't get this period of his art - it seriously looks like he picked stuff and stacked it. I'm not a Pollock fan, but I guess he was about the process of what he did - not so much the product - he could actually draw but somehow came to this style and became known for it.
1 person likes this
@FayeHazel (19112)
• United States
13 Mar
@much2say Interesting, must have been a phase this guy went through
1 person likes this
@just4him (124348)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
7 Mar
For me, art needs to be something I can identify - still life, landscape, portrait. When a picture becomes so abstract I have no idea what the person is trying to convey, it is no longer interesting to me.
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
13 Mar
I would think it's that way for many people - they appreciate it more when they can identify with it. I can appreciate various abstracts, but I may not necessarily like certain pieces.
2 people like this
@just4him (124348)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
13 Mar
@much2say That kind of art says different things to different people.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130636)
• Bunbury, Australia
4 Mar
I'm afraid there is a lot of art that I 'don't get'. It's good you were able to improve your daughter's enjoyment of it.
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
5 Mar
Just like a piece writing, anyone can read into a piece of art. This technique helped me to survive my modern art history class .
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130636)
• Bunbury, Australia
6 Mar
@much2say I'd need a 'survival mode' if I were studying modern art.
2 people like this
@mandala100 (48488)
• Hong Kong
4 Mar
@much2say Most of the time for the "modern" art my friend.
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
5 Mar
It wasn't until a teacher enlightened me in a modern art history class about how to "read" such modern art pieces that I began to understand, though sometimes still I don't understand .
1 person likes this
@DianneN (82574)
• United States
5 Mar
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Mar
When it comes to sculptures made out of trash I never understood how it was considered art. But as much as I'm not a fan I'm sure there are those who enjoy it. At least you made a fun day out of it
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
13 Mar
I can understand found art to a certain degree, but just putting pieces together doesn't cut it for me. I certainly wouldn't buy it .
@snowy22315 (51278)
• United States
4 Mar
Yes, some so called "art" does not appear to need much if anything in the way of artistic talent.
2 people like this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
5 Mar
That is where I like to see the development of an artist and how they arrived at that particular style. Some actually have what we think is great artistic talent - but a particular style is more to their liking and what they present.
1 person likes this
• China
5 Mar
Your photos help your daughter understand the art pieces and reduce a profound things to plain ones.For many works of art,I can't see what is behind them,even think of some of them as graffiti.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
5 Mar
Some of it is graffiti - and some consider graffiti as art too! I think my daughter will at least remember these pieces this way .
1 person likes this
• China
6 Mar
@much2say Your daughter learnt a lot from the field trip under your enlightenment.Other kids must have been all at sea as to how to understand the art pieces.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
6 Mar
@changjiangzhibin89 Well, my daughter has the advantage of coming from a family of artists . . . we take a lot of action when it comes to seeing or doing art. Some of the kids were more occupied with their "phones" anyway - their eyes were not as open as ours.
1 person likes this
@dgobucks226 (13316)
7 Mar
Art can be a mystery. Not everyone sees the same thing. "Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people - the beauty within themselves"- quote from Langston Hughes
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
13 Mar
Great quote! But then again, not every artist has the same mission. But in the end, it is about you, the viewer, and your take on the art.
1 person likes this
@dgobucks226 (13316)
15 Mar
@much2say So true, and I never quite got Andy Warhol's soup can art, lol.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
28 Apr
@dgobucks226 Warhol's art is an example of where I think knowing about his development helps to kinda understand where his art comes from. He worked in commercial art and silkscreening - it all comes together in his "art". Yah, I'm not a fan, but certainly he is iconic of pop art!
1 person likes this
@YrNemo (14401)
13 Mar
Glad I was not there . I saw some of the photos you took and didn't know what to say!
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
14 Mar
Even if you were there, it would have been 2 minutes and you'd be done . I know - what can we really say about these pieces, right? I will say this artist's other found art works are actually cool - they are colorful and funky - mostly of metal and actually whimsical. But this period - yikes - someone could easily think this gallery was a storage facility !
1 person likes this
@YrNemo (14401)
19 Mar
@much2say I wonder who paid for the cost of that sort of display... I remember meeting some mothers who decided to become artists and set up some displays of their artworks. They got funded by the local government I think. I am glad to say that most of them with time, leaving arts behind...
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
23 Mar
@YrNemo This is actually a part of a college art gallery . . . so I don't know how that works. I don't know how funding and grants and all that stuff actually get acquired. Yep, some are just not worthy and one would have to wonder how in the world they got away with it .
1 person likes this
@SIMPLYD (81562)
• Philippines
8 Mar
Those what they call abstract paintings are those I can't understand at all as to what they mean. Though, I like some because of the colors used.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
13 Mar
Have you seen the ones that are just one solid color - sometimes I just have to wonder how they could explain their art!
1 person likes this
@SIMPLYD (81562)
• Philippines
14 Mar
@much2say Oh yes, and I cannot understand them and just think it's an abstract anyway.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
15 Mar
@SIMPLYD I look at pieces like that for 2 seconds, maybe think about it for another 2 seconds, and then walk on .
1 person likes this
@MarymargII (10411)
• Toronto, Ontario
14 Mar
Most of the modernist stuff I don't get as I am a realist by nature. I only like it if it speaks to me. That was a great experience for you and your daughter though and you will remember that day and that type of "art" at the very least as something you don't want to see again---ha!
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
28 Apr
Yep - we learned what "not" to see - although we did revisit the gallery but still could not make heads or tails out of it - it was "interesting" .
1 person likes this
@MarymargII (10411)
• Toronto, Ontario
30 Apr
@much2say Oh I know lol! I have had that experience viewing 'art' a few times---haha!
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
1 May
1 person likes this
@bunnybon7 (37189)
• Holiday, Florida
23 Mar
a lot of the new art, i don't get. things that are supposed to look like something they don't look like. so no, i too don't get it and at my age i don't bother with that type. but glad you saved the trip for your daughter. at least she got something from her wise and thoughtful mother
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
28 Apr
Art is kinda in the eye of the beholder, right? I can appreciate it, but certainly it doesn't mean I like them all. We revisited that gallery since we went the first time - we had the same reaction .
1 person likes this
@bunnybon7 (37189)
• Holiday, Florida
28 Apr
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
28 Apr
Anne is an artist and I appreciate fine art, but yes, there is some that is difficult to call art at all.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40097)
• United States
28 Apr
I love Anne's quilt art! I can appreciate all kinds of art, but I can't say I "like" them all.
1 person likes this