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Re: Cute but stupid



>> There are people today who still say "my 2-year old can paint better than
>> that," and who just don't get it -- they think "modern art" is not based on
>> skill. I don't pity those individuals-- I just don't have time for them.
>
>I must confess that I have never cared for modern art.  Maybe it's because
>I don't understand it.  Perhaps someone can explain to me how paint
>spattered on a canvas at random or a larged stripe painted on a white
>background constitutes art.
I wonder what artists  you are talking about?  The color field painters of
the 60's? The Absract Expressionist's of the 40's and 50's?  That is really
old news.  Do you ever go to exhibitions? It sounds like you and others who
have made similar comments have a very limited idea of what is  being done
or the rich and varied works of the past 100 years.  It would be like
someone judging all modern music by a concert of 1950's John Cage or
ceramics by the local craft showing or craft by what you find at the local
"Hobby Lobby".  Real art does not come from long ago and far away.  There
is wonderful and fully contemporary realism  being created in all mediums
by artists like Wayne Thiebauld, Graham, Peter Milton, Rakestraw Downs as
well as  playful but sobering comments on life by artists like Red Grooms
and Claus Oldenberg and expressive works and thought provoking conceptual
works that are breaking the boundries and all this taking place today and
all over the U.S. and most of the world.
        There is  work  being done in dance, music, poetry, architecture,
in fact all of the arts,  that is second to none.  The problem is that
culture that is driven by the market is de facto popular. and that is as
true of painting or books as it is for music or movies.   I would define
contemporary art as that creative work that seeks its place as child and
inheritor of the past.    We are close to a hundred years away from
Duchamp's, Matisse's, and Picasso's early work.  That is part of our
history, as are the world wars, Korea, and Vietnam and the changes in
thought they spawned.    For example Leonard Baskin can't be Thomas Bewick.
He can inherit Bewick through Morris and Art Noveau and German
Expressionism, but he is only an artist to the extent that he makes
relevant life as we know it today.
        I overheard  a faculty member from the local university's school of
music say" I don't understand why anyone would want to make something that
was not pretty."  You might guess that "Kronos" or the modern Jazz Quartet
hasn't been on the performance calendar at that Univ., and that is a shame,
a crime really. Because it seems to me that it is the role of the
University  to provide models of excellence and works that challenge and
stretch conceptions, not fulfil them.  Yes, the classics should be
presented, but I am really tired of hearing Copeland on a daily basis and
the three "B's" on every classical performance.     What is on the
exhibition  and performance schedules is safe, dead, white, pablum.  Even
NPR is guilty. For example there is exciting, masterfully executed acoustic
music being created in every corner of the US but NPR's take on Acoustic
Music is bland new age synthesised or piano that meanders pleasently
forever.
        My point is that for the artist, this is a very challenging and
difficult time.   But then, freedom has always been a difficult
proposition.
Best wishes,
Charlie J.

Charles D. Jones
Artist/Printmaker/Teacher/Musician
Box 13001 SFA Station
Stephen F. Austin State University
Nacogdoches, TX 75962


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