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Why is Modern Art So Bad? Artists Should Aim Higher

In my city of Ottawa, there is a lot of art to appreciate. Since Ottawa is the capital of Canada, we are fortunate to have a National Gallery of Canada. It’s located near our downtown core. It’s a fancy prism, chandelier, castle like structure. I appreciate the architectural design.

While in elementary and high school, we would visit the gallery on occasion. I was always wide-eyed while gazing in wonder at the magnificent pieces of art. But from an early age, me and my classmates would quickly call out the terrible art. “What the heck is this? What the heck is that?”

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National Art Gallery Of Canada

We were befuddled by striped lines that extended vertically for more than 30 ft. It was contrived and absurd to look at these objects. To claim such a thing was art was inconceivable to me. If they could not kid an 8-year-old, they fool me less-so with their art at my age today. Most of this art I speak of is dubbed “Modern Art.”

I appreciate art. Great art. I always have and continue to do so. I have some art history books and a book on Michelangelo. I enjoy exploring pieces of European art on the internet. It’s incredibly inspiring, when I learn of these different pieces. I interpret the “different” art and I think of European art on one hand and gauge the art of today, I begin to ask the question.

Why is modern art so terrible? I’m not being sarcastic or facetious. It’s really bad. Looking through my art history book I compare primitive art versus modern art. There is more merit with some primitive work than modern works. That’s how it seems. And I don’t just speak of paintings here. I’m talking sculptures, installations and everything in between. Modern art is an eyesore.

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Guy in Museum of Modern Art

I know I’ll get flak for this. While people will begin asking me: What about this? What about that? “There’s some good modern art, dude.”  There will be exceptions so in as they have an objective aesthetic that is high value. Most modern art is to raise eyebrows. Typically, modern artists hold the notion “I can’t do the best art, so I’ll just give them an emotional rise.” This exercise of the modern artist is transient and juvenile. Art should leave an immaterial, insightful or transcendent quality.

Art I see tend to be socio-politically motivated and or destructive and regressive. You can still like “modern art” but to hold it to the standards and caliber of giants and works in national galleries is mendacious. It’s absurd.

Where art peaked is debatable. I particularly like art from the renaissance, romantic and baroque periods. As traditional values decay, so does art. In my opinion, wherever civilization peaked in terms of values and principles, the higher the art. People become disenchanted when realizing that great art is typically done in the name of faith – religion. You can see this from music, painting, sculptures to books. The achievements in high art typically have a religious aspect.

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Art – Progress!

Now, I visit galleries with a friend and it’s more or less the same. The great art has its own space. Modern art is raising eyebrows, leaving the people with nothing, an emptiness. The complimentary art for the modern man. The exceptions are few.

Since the western world is becoming more secular, “relativist,” “inclusive,” and “tolerant” the degree of objective good of art degrades. We may have been divorced from God, but at what price to Art culture?

As Terence Mckenna would say, on relativism “Relativism is the inability to differentiate between S**t and Shinola.” When artists pat each other on the back for crummy work – we have lost. I think artists should aspire for an objective standard. All this relativism and “equalism” lowers the bar of the aesthetic. It’s plain to me, everyone is getting a trophy for trying. Artists should aim higher than the transient, mediocre, overly celebrated forms of modern “art.”

It is a kind of cultural programming degrading our sense of art and our senses themselves. Promoting objectively bad work and giving favorable public opinion. But that is a topic for another day.

Here I leave you with a video from Prager University – an extension of my thoughts. I urge you to check out their other videos and subscribe, their videos are noteworthy.

9 comments

  1. You make a valid point. I learned early on in my exploration into the world of art that ‘excellence’ (as decided upon by the powers that be) is very subjective. I applaud you for committing your thoughts to words and speaking them out loud.

  2. While I agree with the author’s basic observation that so -called “modern art” has deteriorated into the multi-cultural diatribe, I must disagree with the religious context of the authors opinions of art, and why artists create. As an atheist, and an artist, I recognize that in the past artists have been at the mercy of the religious when creating. It was necessary for artists to pander to the religious beliefs of patrons in order to survive. Only after they had done so could they be free financially to create the art that truly inspired them. As for quality of art, yes it has gone down hill precipitously since the expressionist era. Complete with pissing police women and anally inserted bullwhips. Rubbish. This so-called “art” is designed to do only one thing, shock. This “shock art” means nothing to any one accept to those doing it , and most importantly, to those who are selling it. The image of the artist has been twisted as well. Too often have I been told that my art is good ,yet they can’t sell my image, because I’m too white, too male, too straight, too married, and I’ve got two kids. This avaunt guard chauvinism is at the hart of why many Relevant Artists are not shown in the major galleries.

  3. Very true and I agree completely. I was an art major for a year until I couldn’t stand this kind of thing anymore. For example, one class in college required us to literally spend over an hour discussing this question: “If a person found a pile of bird poop on the sidewalk and took a picture of it, is that art?” In another class, we took a field trip to a museum and were instructed to choose one piece we really liked and one we really hated and be able to explain why. The piece I hated was a huge, random scribble on a piece of newsprint with a corner torn off that had been crumpled up, flatted back out again, and then framed. When I explained why i hated this piece (eg, it was no-talent garbage), the professor became so irate that she literally screamed at me, “WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR JUDGING THIS WORK!?” She ranted for several minutes. When the guy next to me selected the same piece as the one he hated and gave similar reasons, the professor went into orbit and reamed us for “daring” to hate this ridiculous piece of “art.”

    Ultimately, I used to really love art a lot and spent hours and hours drawing, painting, and sculpting classical and realistic pieces. But my love for art was completely destroyed by professors who embraced abstract crap and who forced their students to either do the same or get a failing grade. It is a travesty and a trend I’ve noticed in music and literature as well.

  4. Great article, I completely echo your sentiments. I also live near Ottawa, and I recently was at the National Gallery. My wife, being only mildly interested still managed to quickly dismiss the contemporary works as ‘juvenile’ or ‘meaningless.’

    That’s precisely what they are. Meaningless. And that’s the problem. Art must have a coherent message, and a blank canvas has none.

  5. Most industries are that way. If you are loyal to their frame of mind, your genius. In psychology it calls for worship to or cult to a trend. Are they for real, or pretending in order to fit in?

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