Posts Tagged ‘stumble upon’

And now for something completely different: musings on modern art. Oh God. I know. Just hang in there. We’ll get back to movies and writing tomorrow.

I recently signed up for Stumble Upon, (if you don’t know already) a free program built into your browser that takes your interests into account and brings you to randomly selected websites. It also sets you up with a blog to talk about your discoveries. My blog is here. Anyway, through stumble upon, I have really been milking the web for all it’s worth. It’s taken me to throughly interesting and intelligent websites I would have never thought to go to myself.

untitled by Robert Gober

Tonight, I was taken to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s “Making Sense of Modern Art” program. At first glance, I was going to click the stumble! button and pass over this website, but on a whim, I entered the program and have been blown away. I’m not even 100% through the first part of the presentation and I already understand and appreciate modern art in a whole new way. Not to say I was ever one of those people who grumble “What’s so special about some splats of paint on a canvas?!”, but I’m certainly not an art expert, or even an art student.The program starts out slow, introducing us to the basic foundations of understanding all art: definitions of style, understanding how art changes society and how society changes art and how artist’s personal histories and perspectives influence their art. And that’s just the first of three other sections (artists in context and comparisons across time being the others)!

What really grabbed me was artist Robert Gober and his affinity for sinks. Yes. Sinks. That little fixture we use every day of our lives. Simple enough. So what in the hell does it mean, hanging a sink on the wall?

To understand the sink pieces, you almost have to have some insight into the artist’s world view and history. Gober, during the time he created the series of sink sculptures, was a young gay man, watching as AIDS destroyed many of his peers (sfmoma.org). In the artist’s words: “[I remember] standing in front of sinks, spending a lot of time washing your hands, and washing and cleaning, and not having it do any good.” Thus, the obsession with sinks. Yeah, I wouldn’t have gotten it without the commentary from the SFMoMA, either.

I found this piece, untitled (I wish people would put titles on their art!) especially killing after I read about the artist’s perspective, which I would have otherwise found completely ridiculous. I’ll let you have your own interpretations.

In general, I think modern art gets a bad wrap for being “ugly”, “pointless” and “artsy-fartsy”. And maybe it is. But I think when we make these snap judgments, we are forgetting what one of the overarching purposes of art: Expression. And God knows when I’m expressing my sadness through emotions, with fat, wet, juggernaut tears, bright red dots popping up all over my flesh, ribbons of snot fleeing my nose, it’s in no way pretty.


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