Modern art?

Gawker recently reported on a study by Boston University showing that people, including art students, can’t tell the difference between “famous” abstract artists and paintings created by a child, or even more hilariously, animals like chimps and elephants. This pretty much sums up what most people I know, including myself, say about modern art. (Apologies to those few fans of the genre that might read this.) I enjoy making fun of art as much as everyone else, but it’s like whining about people valuing the omnipresent but meaningless political opinions of movie stars. Not much will come of any criticism; the modern art will remain just as valuable. Still, art students thinking a masterpiece to be of lesser quality than a gorillapiece makes me smile.

To segue to something completely unrelated, a favorite author of mine has come up with an interesting re-thinking of the iconic roles in the Casino Royale Bond reboot. He’s got me convinced.

Finally, yet another dose of mini-reviews of my recently viewed:

The Adjustment Bureau: C+: It was a love story with a vaguely religious, sci-fi overcoat. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt were magnificent together and had wonderful chemistry, but with no real antagonist against whom to battle, it became a bland, and horrendously predictable, love-conquers-all story. Once again, a Philip K. Dick story is adapted to a mediocre film. They can’t all be Blade Runners I guess.

The Eagle: D: Started off with a couple barely exciting battles, then descended into a quagmire of stagnant conversations alternating between glorifying and lambasting Rome, which was never really resolved. After an eternity of looking at neat landscapes, things start happening again with a few more barely exciting battles and then the stoic hero and his slave-turned-best-friend emerge triumphant, of course. Also of note: not a single female had a speaking role.

Machete: A: A wonderfully over-the-top send-up of grindhouse films. Despite the truly awful acting from an unholy triumvirate of female characters (Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, and Lindsay Lohan) the limb-chopping action sequences were wonderfully campy.

Dogtooth: F: I don’t know what the Greek filmmakers were trying to with this film, but whatever it was, it failed. Astoundingly, this film wowed critics the world over and was even nominated for best foreign film a the Oscars. It was awkward, strange, and unfulfilling. Thanks Jeremy.

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4 Responses to Modern art?

  1. Steven says:

    I think I might be one of those fans of the genre. I hate contemporary modern art just as much as the next guy, but I will say this. Just because something can be recreated or mimicked does not lessen it’s importance. That would be like saying Michelangelo is a “better” artist because his work is technically more sophisticated. It’s always about context. Any real fan of modern art will tell you that it was never about the final piece anyway. Modern art was about the process of painting—reinterpreting what painting can be and removing it from the clutches of those stuffy old “Renaissance Men”. Remember, they were all just tools of the church anyway.

    • twhpoole says:

      I agree. I have that vague knowledge of what I’m “supposed” to think about art, but I it never resonated properly. I think the reason most of us like to hate on modern art is to feel better about our inability to see “what the big deal is.” I feel less uncouth and ignorant by identifying with all the other masses who feel that the art isn’t “for them.” The same rule applies to abstract poetry for me. I never truly “got it.” I understood enough to critique it, but I always end up liking non-abstract prose significantly more.

  2. jeremy says:

    “It was awkward, strange, and unfulfilling. Thanks Jeremy.”

    *sigh* This is not the first time I’ve heard this…

    Also, excluding The Eagle (which I haven’t seen), I agree with your grades above. As for my final thoughts on Dogtooth (Okay, maybe I’d give it a C or D), I will not apologize for having an initial interest in the film! The setup of the story was great and intriguing; unfortunately, instead of using the setup as a backdrop for a captivating story the filmmakers spent more time showcasing the “weirdness.” After skimming through rottentomatoes, I can’t really find a review that echoes our sentiments. Rather, the critics seem to be impressed with a film so “perverse”/”disturbing”/”impossibly bizarre”/”dark”, etc. and even further enthralled that they could be so progressive as to appreciate it.

    Maybe this could be tied back into the modern art discussion, haha… If something can be perceived as being offensive, then it is automatically good.

    • twhpoole says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head there tying Dogtooth to the modern art topic. I agree that many critics liked it because they were supposed to. And yes, I thought the premise was good too.

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