Thursday, January 10, 2008

There is no getting around the fact that most art does not move me. I want it to. I want it to speak to me but it mumbles something about a doctor’s appointment and then runs off. I mentioned before that I cannot tell the artistic difference between the Mona Lisa and the painting of the poker playing dogs- I don’t mean this as a joke I’m being very serious. It seems odd as I come from a very artistic family, my father is a sculptor and my mother is a writer- so it seems I should know better- but, alas I do not.

Yesterday we visited the Foundation Cartier exhibits in the 14th arrondisement with some family friends. Lee Bull, a Korean artist, has an exhibit there. I contemplated, prodded, soaked in her work and the result was nil. But I wasn’t dissuaded because there was another exhibit of an art form that I do appreciate, photography. Robert Adams black and white photos of the Pacific Northwest. - But again I felt nothing. Actually that isn’t true, I felt bored. That’s ok, I said to myself not all art is going to reach everyone.

The following day (today) I went to the Pompidou center for the Alberto Giacometti show. You will probably know him from one of his sculptures entitled “The Walking Man.” I did enjoy this show- but no so much for his art, although I could appreciate that, but for the added attraction of seeing his studio. I focused more on and was more interested in where he created his work and less on the work itself. I then found myself devoting most of my time to watching the people as they viewed his art- students sketching his work and scribbling away in their notebooks, tour groups taking up far too much space, old women pushing others out of their way.

Perhaps I am just one of those people that doesn’t “get it”, or maybe the emperor really has no clothes. I suspect I am not alone in this fault; the last time I visited the Louvre I was amazed that half the people there were looking at the art through the viewfinders of their movie cameras. Although art must do something for me because i seek it out. I go to the musems, not because I'm supposed to but because I want to. It's all very strange but today I don't have inclination to dissect the reasons for it.


morandi in motion said...

Hey MM
I will share a secret never mentioned by artists and only discussed amongst third degree Masons in aprons when the lights are off... Viewing art in a museum is roughly analagous to going to a fine restaurant and dining on the menu rather than the meal. The juicy sweet spot is in the making. There is something of the afterglow aroma in the air at a gallery or museum. A vicarious pleasure of almost participating... not unlike screaming fans at a football game... or Peter Sellers in Being There. At the end of the day however the artist and his muse are the only ones truly sated and satisfied.

Anonymous said...

This may be your quest while in one of the worlds great cities for art. Or maybe the quest of a character in your novel: Convince art to to speak to you. You may find it helpful to put yourself in the shoes of the artist as they were creating that piece. While looking at one of JL Davids enormous canvases in the Louvre, try to imagine the process, the time, the management of pulling off such a project. And as mentioned, "the making" may bring you closer to a real conversation with art if you truly desire such chatter. Of course, that may require an intro to sculpture class. Or simply taking a pencil and paper to the park and giving it a go. The great thing about art is that once people applied brilliance to works like E. Kelly's mono colored canvases, it's pretty much impossible to fail completely. It sounds like Modigliani is returning your calls, hopefully he'll invite Caravaggio, Picasso, Sanders, Cezzane, Warhol, Rauchenberg, Basquiat, Shepard Fairey and the folks showing in the cafe around the corner to the conversation in short order.

I've never understood why we have to have the lights out at these meetings...