Today’s art is ugly, trivial and in bad taste
Now I can’t say traditional painting is dead but I can say it is dying. There are many forms of art these days mainly due to what we hold vital which is technology, where their was once craftsmanship used in the stroke of a brush, you can now do with a click of button. Art is generally understood as an activity or product done by people with a communicative or aesthetic purpose, something which expresses an idea, an emotion or more generally a world view. The definition of art is open, subjective, debatable. But today art is subjective to many questions, is it really art, or is the actual art we did which required years of dedication becoming talent less and is dying out. Why is that so, this article will discuss two reason, is it due to the use of technology or the fact that art is more about money these days to the social elites and that is what is killing of real art. There are many reasons why it could be dying after all art is an evolving and global concept.
Once upon a time the purpose of art was once to create beauty and to imitate nature, today the concept has evolved dynamically and is constantly changing, there’s no denying that but is it for the good. When was the last time you went into a gallery and saw something that really captured your eye, when was the last time you saw modern painting with in-depth meanings. Look at Christ in the Storm of the Sea of Galilee – Rembrandt. I can’t see someone doing anything on the lines of that, there was a time this world had one of thee greatest artists, just look at the likes of Rembrandt, Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and my favourite Henri Matisse, in whose work I very much admire. Of course there are many more masters of art to add to this list. But how many do we have in this era, apparently to the public eye an apple placed on a white glossy table seems to be deemed as extraordinary. But they do say beauty is the eye of the beholder or am I missing something or are we just plain ignorant. The idea of the traditional fine art painter toiling away in his garret to capture truth in an image has somehow been lost now.
Some given works of today’s art are ugly, trivial, or in bad taste, that even a five-year-old could have made them, and of course without a doubt the major works of the twentieth-century art world are ugly and talentless even thought we spend millions on art schools, training and academies, it still astonishes me to the what the product comes out as. Want to hate me on that so be it, its my opinion on how I perceive things. Until the end of the nineteenth century, art was a vehicle of sensuousness, meaning, and passion. Its goals were beauty and originality. The artist was a skilled master of his craft. Such masters were able to create original representations with human significance and universal appeal. Combining skill and vision, artists were exalted beings capable of creating objects that in turn had an awesome power to exalt the senses, the intellects, and the passions of those who experience them. However today’s new look on it is art must be a quest for truth, however brutal, and not a quest for beauty but the truth is we live in where the world is fractured, decaying, horrifying, depressing, empty, and ultimately unintelligible, is that why the art works of today are ugly. Are they portraying the truth of art and reality as it is.
Modern and contemporary art has moved away from the historic value of craft and documentation this had led some to say that about in the 1960s painting as a serious art form was dead. Not truly dead, it’s still alive creating sparks but we are not getting the product. Are we as humans simply losing the skill of craftsmanship, due in mind that many of the techniques are still used today just in slightly different ways and with different tools. They do say that modern art and contemporary art are two bastards by the same father. Lets take a look at the very popular digital art, you can follow huge number of people using this just by going to deviant art. There are many forms of arts and crafts, skills at different levels, I tend to call it the new era of art.
Digital art has obviously developed much more quickly than the thousands of years of hand-crafted techniques. A whole generation has been brought up on Photoshop and other tools, whereas earlier generations used pen and pencil. Despite what seems an enormous amount of progress in computer hardware, general computing and even the computing available to most design studios is just not fast enough to easily reproduce art on the scale and level of detail possible with traditional media Remember digital art is just a medium, a tool but the question is whether digital art is an art form in itself. Some people portray that painting is time-consuming so it makes it more appealing in an age where everything seems to be done by machine or computer. But the truth is computer print-outs, no matter the quality, will never be able to mimic the look of real paint on canvas or wood panel. As an artist out there you might think that digital is good and easy but traditional painting can really broaden your capacity as a real artist, painting has a soul to it and allows people to develop a personal style. Many of you might easily say to me that if I’m so worried about it dying, then I should get off the internet, the computer, and my a* and pick up a paint brush, there have been numerous debates over this topic with the end result stating that computers will never replace a skilled artist. I mean there is nothing more exciting for me than visiting a gallery and seeing traditionally painted works- the colours and textures of the paint on canvas, board etc, it has a different feeling a different vibe to it, which no mass computer can produce.
Money is something that can be measured, art is not.
Pablo Picasso was once a fine Artist he like many others he couldn’t sell so he re-invented himself, he is quoted as saying “people that buy my paintings don’t know the difference between art & cow dung” I guess if you’re making mega bucks who cares if it’s real art or not and that’s where money comes into it. Today it’s all about money, these days students charge their price for a piece of work, where there was a time when art galleries and agents would be making them offers. Today you see rich elites buying and selling art as a financial security and an investment. In these conservative times, it’s easy for art to become hollowed out and exist only as a bourgeois decoration. It’s all about the highest payer and when the hammer comes down, everyone is so scared of missing out on the next top artist that it’s never clear whether people are liking the work because they like it or because other people do. So they are not seeing art in its real form, it’s all about the norm and fitting in elite groups so taste has become a cheap high.
Earlier this year a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat, depicting two figures stoned on the hallucinogenic drug PCP, was offered for sale at Christie’s in New York. ‘Dustheads’ was given an estimated sales tag of $25–35 million. In the end, the hammer came down at $48.8 million, a sum that easily broke the previous record for the artist. ‘Ten years ago it might have been perceived as a misfit. Today, he is the most collected artist. But they say ‘A fool and his money are soon parted’; but if the art is sold on at a profit, I suppose the fool-status is passed on with it. So was the price worth the picture, I think not. This is one the reasons I think the wealthy aren’t taxed enough, a sum like this would definitely not hit their bank balance.
Remember in a world we live in art is strictly a luxury purchase, purchased by the most elite members of society, as a rule. The money going around in finance is ruining art these days, therefore we are undetermined to seek what is real art and what is not. Why buy a magnificent £20,000 or £1 million painting when you can spend £50 or £100 million and really impress friends and enemies alike. Art and money have always been inseparable . To me the art world has become a fantasy object for the professional classes. Everybody is following not the art but the sky-high prices at the auction houses. Today powerful galleries, followed by collectors and lazy curators, are what sums up today’s predicament in the art world.
However as long as people have imaginations art will exist. Art is the creative mind placing ideas and concepts on surfaces, and real are is an activity of the soul.
By Maria’m AS (ed. Truthrevoloution)
I must say that I’m one of those “don’t know art, but I know what I like” people. I read your essay with great interest. I really would like to know more about art. Perhaps when I retire I will be able to study it.
I’m visiting from the NaPoWriMo list. My team’s site is Poetry of the Netherworld.
A well written and thought-provoking essay, Alysia. I intend to briefly speak about this in the sequel to my new book. Are you familiar with this quote from Edward Gibbon?:
“The five marks of the Roman decaying culture:
Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth;
Obsession with sex and perversions of sex;
ART [my emphasis] becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original;
Widening disparity between very rich and very poor;
Increased demand to live off the state.”
The ultimate conclusion of my broader gender narcissism thesis is that it reconciles a book by Christopher Lasch entitled “The Culture of Narcissism” with Gibbon’s classic “Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire.” In other words, what befell Rome was a process of worsening narcissistic social decay, and we are in the midst of the same centuries-long process.
This would plausibly explain what you’ve observed in your essay.
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Art is one of those things that seems fundamental to humans and which distinguishes us from the animals. Only humans produce art. And it is often tied closely with current technology whether you’re talking cave paintings, oil paintings or digital paintings. I’m pretty certain Mozart would have loved synthesizers and Picasso would have loved Photoshop. These were true artists who used the best tools available to them to express their vision.
A problem for artists is that art needs to break and explore new ground. Wells do go dry once they’ve been well explored. (Okay, sorry about that… I never met a metaphor I couldn’t do extreme damage to,.. and I can’t resist puns. 🙂 )
While there are truly great paintings and statues, after you’ve seen a few thousand or so, it’s hard to find much value in new work. That doesn’t detract from the beauty of what came before — it just means new stuff doesn’t have much room to explore anymore. I would imagine the artist finds it as boring to make as we do to view!
On top of all that, the new media tools allow everyone to trivially be a producer of content. The web is now filled to the brim with “artists” and “writers” of all stripes, because anyone can use these tools to easily produce and publish. (And, as usual, Sturgeon’s Law applies.)
And it isn’t just that there’s so much crap… it’s that there’s so much crap. With the whole world online just about, the sheer amount of content produced these days is staggering. How does one find the good amid so much drek? How does one get discovered in such a vast crowd? (Only so many can get the Colbert Bump, and time is running out on that one!)
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