Monday, June 17, 2013

Dear Modern Art,

...Suck my homemade breadstick.

Now now, before you send me hate-fueled retorts let me explain. This is not targeting the entire modern art community, just a few observations I've made. I'm merely defending dedicated artists whose works are being upstaged by frivolous pieces priced at exorbitant costs. And before you give me that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" mumbo jumbo let me go into detail. This past weekend, my brother submitted his illustration to New Jersey's beloved and acclaimed yearly event "Art All Night," which takes place in the state's capital. This free event gives artists the opportunity to showcase their work during a 24-hour long event filled with music, food, and fun activities.

Artists submitting work price their piece at whatever value they choose. My brother made the conscious decision to not sell his work but rather donate it for peoples' visual enjoyment. Because it wasn't for sale, his illustration was displayed maybe an inch away from the floor, completely out of everyones' optical focal point.

And here comes my beef with some modern art. As long as you can corroborate your piece with some cryptic bullshit, it's classified as "abstract art." Oooooooh, this conveys the ambiguity of human nature towards towards cultural metanarratives and society's oppression of... BLAH BLAH BLAH and then it's this revered oeuvre. Really? Because what I'm looking at looks like a hypotenuse doing a keg stand on a piece of paper. Unless it's some abstruse insight into the mentality of a frat boy or the social structure of a college community, I'm not retaining any sort of social commentary or prolific message. What attracts attention to these sorts of pieces is either the name, price tag, or where the piece is being displayed.

What pisses me off most is my brother's impressive work is put on the god damn bottom under some fucking second grader's noodle and Elmer's Glue craft project priced at $2,700. I'm not saying young kids who submit their work shouldn't feel special. Children should be encouraged to explore their creativity and the arts. But don't fucking give me an attitude like your child is this artistic prodigy.  Oh, this is Rebecca, she's 7 months old and she outlined this with her Cheerios one morning and CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? What, did the Virgin Mary appear in her cereal and prophesied that your child's mediocre art would sell for a lot of money?

And once again, let me reiterate: I'm not trying to insult people whose work is not as meticulous as my brother's or other work that isn't heavily detail oriented. I am absolutely NOT harping on anyone's vision because if someone creates something, it obviously means and represents something to them. There are some very brilliant pieces which I've come across and love dearly.  I'm just uncomfortable with how certain pieces that evidently had a lot of hard work go into them that are donated for viewing pleasure are disregarded because there isn't a price tag attached to them.

"Native American Portrait" by Andrew Mania
As seen above, my brother's work is so realistic that it's often mistaken for a photograph. That's why his signature style is gradually fading the image down and leaving it partially unfinished to indicate that it is an illustration. So meanwhile, while my brother's opus is being treated like bottom-shelf liquor, there's fucking three year old's Maggie booger-smeared napkin priced at $5,000 being treated like it's Belvedere.

For an event that claims to celebrate art and foster a sense of community, they sure seem to care more about making a profit. If you're a real artist, touching peoples' lives with your work and provoking emotion from your audience should come first. The financial compensation should come second.

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