I don’t get it – do you?

February 21, 2011 6:39pm Published by Jules Smith in The Art Philosopher No Comments

The other day I met my friend ( a great art appreciator and museum goer) to attend our city’s newest museum ‘The contemporary art’ museum.  Now, I consider myself a relatively arty person, who leans toward the creative side of life and enjoys creating ‘artwork’, loves design, texture colour etc.  So, naturally I was quite looking forward to attending a modern art museum with someone who knows what they’re on about and allowing myself to be pushed outside my boundaries in an arty thinking way.  Off we trotted to the place which was decorated in a minimalist and (just how I’d like my living room to be actually)  sparse way with white walls and huge pictures and lots and lots of space.  The first pictures on show were photographs  – great- I am a massive lover of photography and do it all the time.  Right up my street.  As we were looking at the large prints I was thinking ” yeah that’s quite nice, that’s got good composition, nice use of colour”  when a teacher and some pupils came past us to the next print of a naked woman with a camera as a head- the naked lady causing sniggering and guffawing from the pre-teen pupils.
Teacher: “So class, what do you think we are looking at here – and Johnathon, stop sniggering and being silly” (yes Johnathon put those boobies right out of your mind)  So I thought I’d listen in to the teachers viewpoint.  “What we have here is a woman who is drawing you in with her nakedness, expressing herself utterly and vulnerably whilst then sending the focus back at you with the use of a camera as her head”  O…K. yes, I can kind of see that yes.  Then we move to the next print which is two photographs side by side of very calm sea.  One is called Jon and one is called Maria (yes, the photos have names)   My friend Madeleine said: ” I think this is the viewpoint of Man and Woman and their different perspectives on life”
Me : “Ugh?  they’re both photos of the same sea Mads”
Madeleine: “No, one viewpoint of the sea is a tiny bit darker, although they look identical, they are, in fact not”
Me: “Whatevs, Just looks like sea to me – bit boring truth be told”
And then – yes then,  along came teach with his motley crew to discuss said sea images.
Teach: “Now, What’s going on here is death. (ooh, didn’t see that one coming)  The death of the artists parents is seen here and how she feels. What lies behind the images of the sea, will we ever know what the artist has hidden there?”
WHAT?….  obviously I couldn’t help myself and sidled up to my friend Madeleine and said: “Actually Mads, after carefully analysing the sea prints I believe the artist is trying to express her feelings of grief towards her parents demise” and off I trotted to gallery number 2.
Now gallery number 2 was, quite frankly, mad.  A series of projectors were running showing 2 minute film clips all playing at the same time.  HELLO HEADACHE!  One was of a lion constantly roaring.  One was of a dog constantly barking.  One was of a ballet shoe, one was of a dove sitting on a perch and one was of someone drawing.  All they did was repeat themselves over and over again.  I sat there, willing myself to get into it; trying to find the art and its deep meaning. I even shut my eyes and breathed deeply (I saw other people doing this) but all I got was totally racked off with the incessant barking of dog and roaring of lion.  Then Madeleine said:” I think what the artist is trying to say is..ME BUTTING IN “Mads, I don’t care, I don’t get it, get your coat we’re going for a drink!”

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