Why The Hell Do They Call It Art?

Franz Klein

Franz Kline, American, 1910-1962, Painting, 1952
© 2013 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

A lot of people don't get 'art.'

They look at art for face value, putting little if no effort into thinking deeper about the how's or why's - the real meat behind the artwork. Like, how did the artist do that? or why did the artist do that? Or, hey, this was the first time this concept was ever applied and widely accepted by the art world. What was the motivation? What was the life event, or conversation, that que'd the artist to paint with shear emotion - putting his or her feelings onto the canvas?

Historical events that artists have painted are sort of obvious with intention - like wars, portraits of royalty, epic famine, and blow your mind earthly events such as Mt.Vesuvius erupting and mummifying Pompeii.

But the rest of it...like Franz Kline and his weird black and white abstracts. Or even Picasso and his cubism - people these days just don't seem to get it. Sort of pass it off as ‘zany artist’ finger paint. And it's not that the inability to think deeply over a painting is due to stupidity at all. It's more like ignorance and lack of passion for art itself, or an understanding of how art plays an important role in our lives.

Ignorance and lack of art appreciation is apparent when I see art museum go'ers squinting before a painting, saying, "I don't get why this is 'art.' It's shit. I wouldn't hang it in my home." Uhm, hello? If it was 'shit' it would probably be a reproduction sitting in some bin in a craft store somewhere in suburbia waiting to get purchased by someone like you! I want to scream, "IDIOT! Dig deeper! Put that mush in your skull to work and try to think like the artist..." but realize that it would all go into one mushy ear and out the other. In our modern time it appears as if the Art Appreciator is a rare, if not all together extinct creature. As if art appreciation has been reserved for the uber-educated, upper crust know-it-alls with affected 'East Coast' accents.

I want to blame the big box craft stores for the mushy art brains these days. Though I buy some of my art supplies from craft stores, I get hives whenever I walk past the 'art' section of these stores. The plastic, factory printed 'repos' of famous paintings (like Hopper and Lichtenstein) destined to hang in newly constructed homes or condos, right next to a flat screen t.v., or in some poorly decorated room. This is the new art museum, my friends. The place where clusters of over eager new home owners find their 'art'. The perpetuation of faux art in brightly lit stores with linoleum tiling kinda makes me sad.

People should do themselves a favor and plan a trip to an art museum and WAKE UP. If you hate something you're looking at, ask yourself why? Art has the ability to stir emotions, calling forth ancient feelings which bubble back to the surface. Reconnecting with creativity and all the good things appreciating artwork has to offer broadens the human mind. Sharpens up our curiosity about the world we live in, and where we’ve come from.

I harp a lot on the whole ‘art in the modern world’ thing a lot, but not because I’m a grumpy constipated artist. I’m just passionate about art and what it means to me (and you!) and shudder to imagine what this world would be like without any art (good or bad) in it.




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  • Klein? You mean Kline, of course.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Noted and changed. Typing frenzy.

  • I liked the work of Kline's more sedentary brother: Rekline.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Ha ha! I actually kinda laughed. ;o)

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