Life's Like That

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Arty farty

Is it just me or do other people reading this also find Modern Art incomprehensible? And boring? And pretentious? Do any of you share my sentiments when I turn away from a work of art and mumble " if that is art then even I can do it!!" No seriously. What is Modern Art anyways? A whole lot of paint splashed around on a canvas and given some high funda name! Tchah!

Obviously my sentiments are not shared by the vast majority of the country, otherwise Modern Art would not be selling for such high prices. Take for example this French Modern Artist I once had the misfortune of befriending. He insisted on showing me his latest creation. I do wish he hadn't. I was told later that it was meant to represent youth and violence...or some such vague notion. But what I saw was a white canvas with a large blob of dried gobor..cowdung...stuck on it. A little bit of silver foil was stuck to the middle of the blob. And, you know those things we did as kids with a bottle of poster colour, a toothbrush and a comb...that spray painting thingy....yeah looked like he had had a fun spraypainting session all over the silverfoiled cowdung blob. I thought it was a very bad representation of a cow run over by a truck. Needless to say he was most offended and our friendship ended on a rather bitter note, which wasn't a bad thing after all. Imagine having to confront other shitty messes and attempting to interpret them!

I have had terribly harrowing times with artists. I was almost murdered by one half mad, tiny Bengali Fine Arts teacher in Hyderabad because I said I felt most of MF Hussein's paintings were handpainted overpriced contributions to the Indian pornography industry. And I do not understand the necessity of depicting nude gods and goddesses. Its like the only thing the man wants is cheap publicity one way or another. She fell off her gardener's cycle with indignation and then treated me to a long torturous lecture on the subject of Art and artistic freedom and my shameful ignorance of the same.

Oh and then there was that awful art festival in Bangalore that I was doing PR for. Oh my goodness. Wild haired, wild eyed, bearded, paint smeared, vague, scatty famous artists descended upon Bangalore and me for one full week. Why do these people almost always ask you what you think of their work? Why do they need constant reassurance? So insecure.This very famous and very scatty mural artist from Delhi stopped in the middle of an interview waved vaguely at the wall she was working on and asked me with a beatific smile "But my dear do you think the Roerechian theme is a very strong element in this mural?" Can you imagine!!!? I knew who Roerich was, since Bangalore was celebrating his birth...or was it death... centenary, but what the hell was a Roerechian theme? I wouldnt recognize a Roerechian theme if it danced naked in front of me. Ufff!!Thankfully my experience with the French artist had left me a little wiser so I returned the beatific smile and looked mesmerised and murmered words like..."Ma'm..its brilliant. Words fail me really. Stunning. the colors....!!!!!" Believe me when I say those words and other similar ones helped immensely during the festival. Whenever an arty looking artist asked me what I thought of his/ her work I would look like I was going into raptures over the damn thing and murmur "beautiful" "stunning" and on one occassion even "stupendous" and "mind blowing".

And speaking of artists, why must they be so scatty? Would wearing normal clothes and trimming ones facial hair and not talking harebrained rubbish all the time make one any less talented or creative?Oshojho!

Its not just artists, its playwrights and poets and actors and musicians...its anyone with any semblance of creativity. Why can't they just be normal? And why oh WHY must they always ask for feedback to their works of art? More often than not I dont understand high brow stuff. I get bored. Or giggly. Or both. I have watched award wining animated films and documentaries and the only thing I have taken away from the screening was either a overwhelming desire to laugh my head off ( It was about elephants in captivity and showed a large elephant swaying its trunk accompanied by a mournful female voiceover saying ridiculous things like "I too was once free...I too have a girl waiting for me in the jungle.." The idea of a lesbian elephant was quite funny) or complete total bewilderment (this was a 5 minute animated film which claimed to depict violence in the act of love consisted of a number of animated intertwining lines, interspersed with occassional red blotches and a startling voice saying "PUM PUM" from time to time. That incidentally was the name of the film and was by Alyque Padamsee's niece).

Point is, I do not understand Art, or poetry. I do not appreciate high brow theatre or books. They bore me to tears. Does that make me uncultured? I dont care really. I am scared to death of artists/ poets (No Arka no Im not scared of you at all, though you are indeed wild haired and wild eyed and you keep asking me for feedback on your poetry that I do not understand..Im NOT SCARED OF YOU!! So there!!) and never want to encounter any more in this lifetime.

PS: Im done ranting. I have had the singular misfortune of running into an old artistic fake ridiculous, posturing, irritating acquaintance of my parents. And been forced to endure a lecture on creative self expression. Of all the pseudo aantel rubbish people!!!!!! Gah!!!


  • Totally agree with you Ron. A lot of things about modern art I just don't understand. Had the exact debate with an "artist" in our creativity class ... needless to say - it didn't go too well with everyone - and the irony ... americans of all people ... with their "lengthy" history of art and culture :P ... nevermind that the work of art is dots of dried blood on scraps of white cloth!!!
    but then ... one man's Satyajit Ray is another's Salman Khan! I can understand freedom and expression and being weird ... but the need for acceptance, recognition, reassurance - something doesn't fit!
    p.s. Never liked Monet either ... and thats a far cry from Modern! uncultured I may be but still prefer Da Vinci and Jim Lee!

    By Blogger Venky, at 12:00 PM  

  • Lol! That is one angsty post I thoroughly enjoyed! :D
    Ei French artist bondhuti ki kothay pele? ROFL

    By Blogger Rita, at 8:24 AM  

  • umm, just the other day, i'd been to an art gallery with a friend, who was to photograph Laxma Goud's latest works. And guess what - those smallish sculptures were priced at FOUR LAKHS a piece! and selling like crazy!!
    But inside that gallery were hung those so called modern paintings by some regional who's who. colour scribbles as you saw. trash. and thankfully, they weren't moving much.

    with the media hype (thank PR ppl, basically), everyone and his uncle wants to invest in art these days, just like real estate. Who's gonna sell a Hussain at less than a crore now?

    every artist paints nudes, and if painting gods nude shortcuts to success, why isn't every (wannabe) somebody's nudes as pop as hussain's undressed gods? i appreciate hussain, even while disagreeing with the fine arts teacher's arguments of artistic freedom. i believe that even our thoughts and creativity should try to stay within The boundary (not subjectively defined by the interpreter).

    @ venky: "one man's Satyajit Ray is another's Salman Khan" - ;-)
    priceless, that one.

    By Anonymous vintage, at 7:21 AM  

  • at least you're honest ron :)

    By Blogger M (tread softly upon), at 10:44 AM  

  • I have always thought any form of art that is vague sucks. The artist's excuse is that it is interpretative, and what you see is what's on your mind.

    In that case, plain white canvases would do, wouldn't they?

    Enjoyed reading the way you feel, because it is very similar to the way I do.

    By Blogger Vinesh, at 12:54 AM  

  • I'll have you know that the idea of a lesbain ANYTHING is not funny. Who says elephants can be hot!!!

    hello again:)

    By Blogger Urban Bourbon Ninja, at 5:50 AM  

  • agreeing with ur point...

    and its funny..when you try to resemble ur so called modern art with any logic...

    By Blogger Tanushree, at 3:22 AM  

  • That gobar thing? Probably installation art. There was this episode on CSI, where a room full of people fell ill because of installation art with faeces. Since then, Eughhh!!!!
    Have you ever been inside the Government Art College in Kolkata? So amusing, watching these arty, inspired, scatty types in a frenzy.

    By Blogger good morning, midnight, at 9:44 AM  

  • You don't have to like modern art to appreciate it, you just have to pretend that you do. you have already started to do so. MAy be after a few years you too will become a connoisseur of modern art. :)

    By Blogger Kele Panchu, at 9:41 AM  

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    By Blogger Manasi, at 5:11 PM  

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