Say NO to Contemporary Art

“The Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo

How many times did I discuss this topic in my mind? I talked about it in a presentation in high school. I talked about it in a presentation in college. I’ve gone forward and back in my opinions, but I still could never accept Contemporary Art.

Why is Art so bad these days?
Why was Art related to gods, beauty and transcendence before, and now only a reflection of politics, ugliness and mundane?
Why do experts say a blank canvas is worth millions of dollars?
Why do we see talented people in poverty and forgotten, while random others are rich and cited as amazing artists?

To sum up there is absolutely no Art in what we see today, and I keep feeling like an abnormal human being that never cared for tendencies of the world when they don’t reflect what things should be. Even today I’m confronted with people that think Dadaism was a genius movement, and that everyone should have access to Art as a creator.

Do I sound elitist? Sure. But bear with me as I talk about this…

I started drawing as a kid, and practiced painting classes when I was 11 years old. Later, I eventually graduated in Fine Arts. Since the early years I felt things were changing, but as I started studying Art, the Contemporary Art was starting to show its worse states. I heard about people literally shitting in canvas, peeing, or vomiting. I learned about artists that used animal’s suffering as an argument, provoking such pain in the name of Art. *shivers* This is disturbing!

In college I learned History of Art, about artists since Art is a thing all the way to today, and I understood more and more what Art was and what Art is. More than the short-sighted version most people have, knowing a bit of its history not only the way it evolved through ages, but also how the world and society’s evolution influenced it. For example, I loved when I discovered that the science understandings of anatomy allowed artists to create more believable works of the human body when the Renaissance movement came.

And when I understood artist’s thoughts and styles, I found my own understanding of Art as we see today. No matter how strange they would seem, there was some truth in each vision.

But at one point, that vision went to a complete opposite and while the ideas could be noble, the actions were not.

“Chestnut Tree And Farm At Jas De Bouffan” by Paul Cézanne

Some believe that Art is in the eye of the beholder. That’s untrue. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and even beauty itself usually has a common ground between all of us. I mean, does anyone think a blue sky is ugly? Or the sunrise? Or the moon? Well, perhaps because all those are art. Afterall, art is connected with the divine.

Since the 17th century, the Art world had rules to follow. Any artist could create whatever he wanted, but only a few could be accepted into the art world. Kinda like an authorization to practice and exhibit. The Academy of Fine Arts (Academie des Beaux-Arts) was a french society that would define what Art is. While most new ideas and concepts were rejected as the Academy considered only the classical traits were accepted, obviously it was stopping Art from evolving. But unlike today, it still required artists to be good at it.

By the 19th century, impressionists were rebels that wanted to end with this elitist pedestal. It does sound like a just movement. Art was only accessible to members of the highest standards of society, and everyone should be able to admire it. This also meant that nobody could say what beauty was, as it is relative.

And while the first years brought a breath of fresh air, as all new tendencies usually do, with the same effort to execute good pieces of art, the next years deconstructed Art so much that these days it means absolutely nothing. Since Art shouldn’t be measured by anyone, then everyone has different standards and so, anything can be considered Art as long as one person says it is.

Watch this video.

So, today we have highly skilled artists that work hard to excel themselves, create new ideas and styles without ever leaving that concern for quality and technique with no recognition or just the same recognition as anyone that puts together a piece of paper and calls it conceptual art. Because what matters is the concept, not the object. It comes to an extreme where a blank canvas matters more because of the concept viewers will understand from it.

We see people confusing glasses on the floor or a pineapple on the table as art, when someone just put it there as a joke. Since there are no standards, the equally non-expert critics and buyers think a simple object with no author is a work of art. A white canvas can be worth millions. A banana duck taped to a wall can be worth thousands. Cleaners confused art with rubbish. How could anyone blame them? There is no definition to Art, so Art can be from a sculpture of poop to a piece of plastic.

“La Partie de Dames au Cafe Lamblin au Palais-Royal” Louis Léopold Boilly

Before television or the world wide web, people would gather in cafes to discuss politics, science, religion, and arts. Only a few lucky born in the high standards of society could access information and be allowed to discuss it, gaining respect of others in the group. Even books were restricted to certain classes.

Today, it’s quite the opposite. With globalization, TV and internet, a simple humble farmer can learn about the creation of the universe, or how a car is made, or what cultures lie around the world. But that doesn’t mean every curious person is immediately an expert, and with the attempt to bring information and knowledge everywhere, this myth was created that anyone can be pretty much anything without effort. People discuss medicine, military training, politics, and physics with no sort of knowledge beyond the basics. People with diplomas are discredited and seen as snobs or elitists, even though they studied a particular subject for years. How can society believe a passionate curious person has the same level of knowledge as a person that dedicates her life to it?

There has to be acknowledgment of a professional expertise and degree. You wouldn’t trust a youtuber to operate on you, right? Or a Facebook expert to build a house? So why would you believe that a person deserves the same amount of recognition and value by doing nothing when others try harder?

Anyone being an artist these days with no will to work, no skills, no attempt to exceed previous artworks, no aspiration to something incredible, it’s just the same as considering anyone who cooks a chemist. Does that person know a thing about it? Maybe a few stuff. Does that person qualify to produce medication? No. Can that person develop quantum chemistry studies? No. Can that person be a chemical engineer? No.
So why on Earth would any human with a brain and heart be able to produce, think or create an art piece the same way an inspired person does? A person with deep feelings and extraordinary sensibility? A person with an artistic vision of everything it surrounds us? A person that actually tries to excel at representation, creativity and technique?

I can’t even. It’s a banana and duck tape. There is no art here, no creator.

Art is not something accessible to everyone just like engineering, architecture, computing, mathematics, biology, geology, politics. Can you count? Of course. Can you calculate the tragectory of a meteor that may or may not hit our planet? Probably not.
So... Can you pick up a pencil and try to draw anything? Probably. Can you practice it? Can you put a feeling to it? Can you awe people? Probably not.

Do I think I’m special for having talent, skill and working hard to create beautiful things? Of course I do. Do I think I’m more special than others? No. We are all special in our own way, and same way not all can cure illness, build fantastic works of engineering or solve ways to travel through space, not all can paint, draw or create a beautiful work of art. We all have our purposes.

Today, Art is meaningless. It has no purpose beyond being polemic and shocking. It survives as it is today only because it sells, and it sells because everyone is considered an expert.

You are not an expert. And that’s ok. You have expertize in other matters. You have your part in this world. You can still admire Art for the effort and talent artists have in creating their works. You deserve beauty. Not this:

I don’t even care what it is.

Some say Art is not useful. Is it as useful as finding the cure for a terrible disease? Perhaps not. But Art is necessary, as it always was. One thing is surviving. Another thing is having a reason to live. If you are down, depressive, angry, music can save your life. Videogames can help you disconnect and calm down. A painting can bring you that color that makes you think that maybe life isn’t so bad afterall.

What makes you want to live? The ability to sleep and eat? Or a beautiful mountain view that makes you think of creation? Art is about capturing all of that and remind all of us about our spark, that fire within that sometimes is weak, but that with a good melody or a beautiful view, it lights up again, making us feel complete, more grounded with ourselves, more pure. Elevated. Transcendent. Ultimately, it pushes you to understand yourself “Why”.
Why do you live? Why do you want to live? What meaning do you take from this passage? What makes you dance? What makes you heart jump? What makes your soul synchronize with a universal vibration?

That is Art. Not this.

It’s talent, skill, dedication, effort, excellence, brilliance, quality, technique. And guess what? You can still create your worlds and ideas without leaving this aside. You just… can’t be just a normal person with no talent for Arts.

Not sorry!

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Indigo

It doesn’t matter my name, where I’m from, nor how I came here. Like you, I’m searching. Lost in this world, with so much to speak up, but no one to listen.