Saturday, July 09, 2011

Oh, For Art's Sake

I readily admit that I don't know anything about art, particularly abstract and modern art. I have no background by which to judge which piece of art is better than another. Like most people, I just know when I look at something whether I like it or not. When it comes to abstract art, I often find myself asking, "How is this art?"

Two examples of this type of art caught my eye this week, both of them featured in obituaries of Cy Twombly, who the NY Times called "a towering and inspirational talent."

Again, I'm no expert, but I just can't see the genius in this painting:


To me, that looks like the exact same scribble I make when I'm trying to get the ink to come out of a pen I haven't used in a long time, or the kind of doodle I used to make in school when I was incredibly bored. If only I'd kept the masterpieces I was creating instead of throwing away those valuable scraps of paper!

That Twombly piece is called "Bacchus," and I think it's easy to see why. Bacchus was the Roman god of agriculture and wine, and Twombly beautifully captures...wait...I'll figure it out...it's...oh, I have no idea.

Nor do I understand this Twombly work, entitled "School Of Athens":


Perhaps I'm being too literal. Perhaps I'm wrong in expecting the title of a piece to be vaguely related to its content. After all, I live in a world where trees grow vertically, houses have walls, fire is hot, and chocolate tastes good. In my world, instead of "School of Athens," the title would be "Pattern On The Splat Mat Under My 4-Year-Old Daughter's Easel."

But that's why I'm not as Abstract Expressionist. I'm the guy looking through the window from the outside and saying, "The emperor has no art."