Steve Turnbull
November 2017.
18

Is the popular view of modern art as a 'con' justified?

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WHEN PEOPLE TALK about "Modern Art', they usually think of a type of art which has completely broken with the traditions of the past and tries to do things no artist would have dreamed of before. Some like the idea of progress and believe that art, too, must keep in step with the times. Others prefer the slogan of the good old days and think that modern art is all wrong (from Gombrich's art history book). But we have seen that the situation is really more complex, and that modern art no less than old art came into existence in response to certain definite problems. I will tell you a story from the TV show I saw yesterday (if you tell me the name of this show, I will give you free ticket to our next art lecture). So, the President of the USA came into her (movie, not reality) office and saw that secretary has a new painting on his wall. 'If you wanted to buy some art, you should have told me, I would provide you a good budget. Why did you buy this cheap crap?' A moment after she looks again and streams with admiration: 'That's Sezanne, isn't it? $120 million Sezanne!' The moral of the story, if you see 'not very impressive/not attractive/ not pleasing art work', you might think it's nonsense, doesn't worth your attention, but if you know the story behind this art work, it's the value in art history (Cezanne was the most influential artist of the new modern era of art, he inspired the generations of the artists to revolutionise art and create new art styles), you suddenly look differently! Another point, contemporary art business is very mad these days, price tags are beyond logic and art value is something not necessarily related to the quality of the art work. Most of it is 'mystery' hidden in PR,marketing and influential figures of the art market. I always believe that art history books not earlier then 100 year from now will only publish 21st century art that would have been worthy our attention now. Time always reveals 'cons'.

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