Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
MET Museum November 25th
Looking at the great paintings by Van Gogh and Gauguin for example truly gives the serious viewer of art a glimpse into the heart, mind and soul of the artist in addition to the time he/she lived. Great art reveals the emotional / spiritual state of the artist. Great paintings are like locked treasure chests that we the viewers must attempt to unlock and unravel the mysteries, stories and content within the picture plane.
Why did Van Gogh paint sunflowers? Gauguin primitive natives? Degas ballet dancers and horse races? We must ask ourselves questions as we scrutinize any great work of art. What was the driving force (inspiration) behind Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel? The answers can be varied. The patron for example may play an important role in addition to the emotional state of the artist, the time and place – social issues / pressures can all be factors that contribute to HOW that art is made and what it communicates.
It is up to US the viewers of art to seriously investigate these issues if we are to have a better, deeper appreciation and understanding of art through the ages.
The MOMA – Modern Art Museum in NY is very VERY different from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Modern (late) 20th Century art reflects a culture (in my opinion) that seems confused and constantly questioning everything in life from values, social mores, religion, relationships, etc. Some of it in my opinion communicates a sense of loss, fear, apathy and as my daughter Andei said to me a deep introspection.
I also sense a disconnect from faith based religion – or any type of spirituality. Much of the art in the MOMA (again in my opinion) expresses a craving for meaning yet without a spiritual component / element. Most of this highly conceptual art is secular in nature.
Art is really about SEARCHING and looking for answers to the biggest questions in life.
I don’t see post-modern art as having any answers. Post-Modern art seems to respond with more questions. It’s not in vogue to say that God is the only one with the answers to all of our questions and that is why so much of modern art after the mid-20th Century is so secular in nature and devoid of any religious connotations (except possibly negative).
It really hit me aesthetically as I walked through the MET and then the MOMA (Modern Art Museum) the following day. Both museums have very different feels to them. I like the MET more because even though I enjoy and can appreciate abstract / non-objective art – an entire museum of it gives me an empty feeling after awhile, where as the galleries of Christian – Renaissance – Baroque – Impressionism to me has more substance and content that feeds me intellectually and spiritually. My in-depth knowledge of Art History and the social / cultural issues behind art through the ages makes the MET a more positive and enriching experience for me.
Like I mentioned earlier, so much of modern and post-modern conceptual art seems fragmented, disjointed and purely secular giving me a hopeless feeling. It’s like I don’t have a point of reference and I do with art created before 1950’s.
I believe based on the art being created NOW that American culture is devolving and the art in the MOMA is a reflection of the secularization of society and the elimination of religious faith (iconography) as an element in art and our educational system. Some people may think this is a good thing, but I find it disconcerting.
Photographic Installation MOMA