I’m ashamed to admit I know very little about modern art. I like the reality of Renoir’s women, the comfort and familiarity of Rockwell, and the pure beauty of Monet’s nature scenes. I don’t think I’m alone in being intimidated by modern art. Even the artists know most people are ignorant to the soul of modern art. To quote Edmond and Jules De Goncourt, “A painting in a museum probably hears more foolish remarks than anything else in the world.” Well, let’s prove them right and look at some well known works of “modern art” displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Please click the titles to view the art, and see if you agree.
Woman Dressing Her Hair by Pablo Picasso
I’m sure there are intellectuals that can explain to me why the woman looks like a female version of Mister Potato Head with disjointed breasts, but honestly, if there is beauty in this Picasso, it’s lost on me. “Woman Dressing Her Hair” is an eloquent title for a deformed, cow like creature with creepy feet.
The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
I saw this in a museum, and thought for a moment I might have been on the cusp of enlightenment, but I don’t believe time is irrelevant. It also reminded me of when one of the kids went through a phase of scientific curiosity. I discovered the remnants of my watch in the microwave. That memory is persistent, so maybe there is hope for me.
Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object) by Alberto Giacometti
I’m thinking that Alberto has some issues with the bronze used in this. It looks like he picked his creation out of the melting pot a bit too early, which accounts for the distended effect. Not to mention the fact that the hands seem to be holding two things quite visible.
La Serpentine by Henri Matisse
I interpret this as an affront to men everywhere. The woman is bored. She seems to be killing time, leaning nonchalantly on what looks like…uh…nevermind. Either that or she’s standing in line for the ladies room.
The Moon and the Earth by Paul Gaugin
This interests me. Symbolism aside, I like trying to find the earth. If only that ape-like guy would move his head a bit to the right. Then again, I have no problem seeing the moon, so could I be credited with having a partial understanding of this one?
I and the Village by Marc Chagall
Okay. This is a perfect example of why I get lost interpreting modern art. I assume the name “I and the Village” has some connection to the eyes we see. The man pushing his cart is a bit puzzling. Is that Marc going to town? Why is the green guy wearing a hat, and is that a cow the lady is milking? Jeez, for artists, you’d think these people could do better.
Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso
I’ve purposely saved the best for last. The most mind-boggling piece of modern art I have chosen is by none other than Pablo. If I stare at this until my eyes cross, I see a horn I think. The guitar is fairly easy to find, but I can’t find the third musical instrument. Is it a piano? I think I see sheet music. Sorry, Pab, but I find it frustrating and counter-productive to have to dissect something to see or feel its beauty. I would rather be smacked over the head with awe.
I do not doubt the genius of the art world. Those far beyond my personal depth of understanding and appreciation should determine the value of art and what it represents. But by the same token, I and only I will determine what is pleasing to me. Given the choice between these works of modern art and the first work of art I hung in my house, I will take my niece’s stick figured get well card done in crayon and love any day.