Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who or what is art?

Question: Is that Art?
Answer: No, he only looks like your cousin, Arthur.

Question: Is that art?
Answer: Who the hell can answer that!

Being at the Getty Center I'm exposed to a wide range of art. Even though we are better know for our painting collection, the 9th through the 19th century, we've collected much more in the ten years the Center has been open and have some modern pieces. For one, the photo collection has grown immensely and now includes some prints from 2006, Luc Delehaye. We also have some very contemporary exhibits like the new works of Tim Hawkingson which seemed a big hit last year.

Sometimes I look at different art movements and wonder if the artist thinks, "… wink, wink, let's just slap some color on a canvas, add a huge price tag and pass it off as art to prove these suckers will buy anything with a famous name attached." But, I like Richard Serra's fluid bands of steel and Chuck Close's portraits. Can't understand conceptual or performance art.

All of this art is making my head swim. How to look at it, how to appreciate it, how to understand it. I found a website that does explain some of the art movements, Modern Art
but does little to help how to understand it. None the less, if you too are confused about what is art, check this site.

So why the angst? California Video is just open at the Getty Center and even though I'm not crazy about the exhibit it is the very beginning of an art movement assembled together to view and study. This experimental venture into video did not exist before 1968 and continues today with a piece created for the show. In 100 years people will look at this collection and because the Getty Center has conserved this block of work and will be able to see it from it's inception. I do have to remind myself how the Impressionist movement was quite radical during it's time.

Check the website for the exhibit California Video and you might find something that inspires you, or puzzles you, or just starts a conversation about art. And maybe that's what the artist wanted in the first place.

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