Is that really art?

By Mark Parent, Opinions Editor

Published Aug. 27, 2014

Everyone sees it.  Everyone hates it.  So, why the hell is it still there?

Of course, I’m talking about the two pieces of modern artwork that grace the front lawn of the EUC.

I mean, seriously, if two rusted-out car parts hooked up, their kids would look like those two pieces of art.

In fact, it looks so unnatural that Bruce Jenner called to complain.

Now, I know, there must be some people on campus who appreciate and even love these rusty structures that add absolutely nothing to the intellectual development of our student body.

So, this week in-between classes I decided to ask students on the EUC lawn a simple question: do you like the signature pieces of art in front of the EUC?

And, as you might expect, every single person disliked or hated those “ugly” artworks.

Although, it should be noted, not everyone used the word “ugly” in his or her description of the pieces.  Some did say, “hideous” and “just terrible.”

Hence, people just don’t find modern art beautiful; especially those hunks of metal and concrete we have to pass every single day.

And, since we’re already on the subject, I think it’s necessary to focus on how truly pathetic modern art really is and why we should demand more from our truly talented artists.

For starters, contemporary art commonly consists of ugly everyday objects, crayon scribbles, and junk; yes, seriously, junk from the dump.

For example, last year one of the main exhibits at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, which I actually do enjoy visiting on occasion, dealt primarily with irons; and yes, I mean the tool you use to rid your clothes of wrinkles.

Suffice it to say, couches made of iron may look cool, but it just isn’t on the same level as Monet, Michelangelo and Jacques-Louis David.

And if you’re reading this and think I’m being a condescending jerk, then I challenge you to get off your high horse and take the BuzzFeed Quiz: “Can you tell the difference between modern art and paintings by toddlers?”

Sadly for you, this quiz will help you see just how bad art has become.

In fact, I’m willing to wager that it invokes the same horrible feeling you get when you meet a person who listens to Nickelback; you don’t know if you should just walk away, or laugh in disbelief.

Perhaps the best example of how detached the art community is from regular society can be found in William de Kooning’s, “A tree in Naples.”

This rather odd work looks, to me, like it belongs on the wall of a kindergarten classroom, not on the walls of museums.

But, I suppose art is subjective and some people do indeed find dead sharks and unmade beds (seriously, those are famous pieces) to be both enlightening and eye opening.

However, these enthusiasts are definitely in the minority and do not represent the entire population.

For instance, the Daily Mail, a British news organization, performed a study in 2011 at an art exhibit that showcased four pieces of modern art and four pieces of traditional art from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The goal of the study was to simply record how long individuals viewed each piece of artwork, and then compare the findings.

The results, as many expected, were not encouraging to modern art enthusiasts.

The Daily Mail sums up the experiment by stating, “Surprisingly, despite all the controversy, and the public promotion of new British artists, they did less well in this test than the 18th and 19th century artists.”

And, perhaps most embarrassing, one of the famous modern works of art averaged a total view time of 5 seconds.    

So, it seems to me that most normal people love and appreciate traditional and classical art, not conceptual junk that can only be interpreted through the artist’s eyes.

Our only hope is that soon this fad will flame out and our generation can provide posterity with beautiful and timeless works.

Personally, I think a good starting point would be to tear down those hideous hunks of metal and concrete that I have to walk past every single day.

Seriously, UNCG, we can do better.

Categories: mark parent, Opinions

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