Quote of the Day: “People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” – Mae West
I went to the Art Institute of Chicago last night because Thursday nights are free yeay! At first, I perused around until I decided to look at the Modern section (abstract, cubism, Picasso, dadaism, Fauvism). I don’t know why, but I love those styles of art! I guess it’s because I see something different every time. I avoided the Impressionist, Renaissance, and Greek/Roman sections because they all look the same and I see nothing new. I checked out the Contemporary section, but I found it to be rather dry – merely an extension of the Modern section but with all the political/social statement and the rebellious statements squeezed out. Pollock was great and this video was amazing, but the rest was just the Modern art redone.
Dismayed, I checked out the temporary exhibit: Jasper John’s “Gray.” It’s about 40 paintings, all of which are grey. Everything is grey. Grey numbers, grey American flag, gray gray gray gray gray. Now I understood immediately what he’s trying to say. When you combine all colors, you get gray. So, what’s the difference between the American flag we all know and his American flag? What’s the difference between Mondrian, who reduces art down to black, white, and the primary colors:
(I’m HORRIBLE with artists’ names, I had to go to art.com and look through 12 pages of fine art posters before I found the piece and artist I was looking for) and Jasper Johns, who combines all colors into art: gray.
The thing is, though, because I knew this and because I had already done an intense art project about this, I wanted to rip my head off. In one of my early studio art classes at Alverno, Nancy (the super-awesome art teacher who is, sadly, on sabbatical all year) assigned us to pick a painting and then repaint it in gray. I picked a very yellow Paul McCartney painting and learned a lot. And then I learned about Mondrian in that class and in the art history class that covers whatever period of time he’s from (not Renaissance).
(that’s the one piece I liked in the whole exhibit) Because I already knew it and I had nothing left to learn about it and I came to the Art Institute and to learn and to be inspired, I went insane. You remember that Simpsons episode in which Homer is called an artist so Marge takes him to an art museum? He had a dream in which all these famous pieces of art start attacking him and, when he wakes up, he discovers he had punched an Andy Warhol painting. That’s how I felt. I wanted to rip off my head and throw it at a row of gray pantings, yelling (how I could yell with my head off, I don’t know), “YOU WANT MORE GRAY??!!! HERE!!!! THIS RED IS GRAY AAAHHH!!!!!”
I quickly went downstairs, paused at a misplaced Picasso, and then went into some American colonial landscapes. That calmed me down.
(staring at that for 10 minutes will calm anyone down, even with the horrible glare of the bad lighting) Here I went from enjoying Picasso, Kandinsky (again, I’m looking all these up on the Art Institute’s site. . . except for Picasso, I can actually name him pretty wel) and others to exploding from suffocation, to returning to the old-fashioned art that I’ve been trying to escape. What the hell?? There were even some Picasso-era artists I liked so much but knew so little about that I texted myself the names of the artists:
1) Paul Klee
2) Lyonel Feininger
3) and, lol, Piet Mondrian
Since I’m at my mom’s and, thus, away from my art supplies and the privacy needed to create art (I don’t mind people checking in and asking a few questions, but she would be looking over my shoulder all the time and asking me constant questions. Especially since the next painting I have in mind involves a businesswoman castrating a man), it doesn’t matter in the long run that I had an unfulfilling experience. But, I’m sure that my good art teachers would assure me that every competant artist should go through an experience like that – it means I’m growing. I just wish that artistic growth didn’t involve the urge to rip off my own head.
George Grosz is still the Martin Luther of early 1900’s Germany