Art can be destructive, such as it happened in the vandalization of Mark Rothko’s Black on Maroon in 2012. Art can be disturbing, like in Leon Golub’s shocking painting Vietnam II 1973:
Through a painting, an artist like Salvador Dalí can interpret a poem and add complexity to it, just like he did in his breathtaking Metamorphosis of Narcissus:
Art can also be hideous like for example in Francis Bacon’s Triptych November. Perhaps if the artist would have called the painting “Ugly Chicken Hanging from a Hook” I would have appreciated it a little more, for the self-awareness if nothing else.
But art can also be simple like Derek’s Jarman’s film Blue in which a monochromatic glow and voice over narration are used to represent the artist’s fading eyesight, one of the complications he experienced from suffering from AIDS.
Conversations about the meaning and the purpose of art are contrived, but, they are contrived because everyone has an opinion about it and we all find the topic at the very least, entertaining. I find the simplification of art fascinating; like the quote from one of the children that attended a workshop at the museum, he said: “art means hard work,” another said: “art makes people think,” to me, both are reasonable statements. There are people that say that art is “rubbish” (does the fact that it’s not our taste make it not art?) and some others debate if just getting a reaction out of someone is enough to make a piece artful.
I don’t call myself an artist, but I would be flattered if somebody did. When I say that I work in film, that I take pictures, that I like writing, people put me in the “arty” category and I feel comfortable with that. I can walk around for hours and find inspiration wherever I go; I can be moved, I can react, I can change my mind. Art is everywhere; it’s not only inside prestigious museums or underground art houses but it can also be hidden in dark alleys, blown out in nature and smelled inside a kitchen. I think that being able to see it, when we find it, makes us all artful enough for anyone… or it makes anyone artful enough for me.
Like almost all museums in London, The TATE Modern is free with the exemption of a few paid exhibits like Richard Hamilton’s retrospective which is absolutely worth paying for. I was lucky to be invited to see it today and this gift made my visit to the gallery even more fulfilling.