Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shiny Things That Mean Nothing

That's exactly what I read on the description on the first art piece at the Yokohama Triennale 2011 at the Yokohama Museum of Art today. This is Japan's leading art exhibition of contemporary art that is held every three years. Without a doubt there was work from from the world leading contemporary artists, including Yoko Ono. (How could she not be included?) There was craftsmanship, there was meticulousness, there was obvious thought and hard work and there were....questions. I.E. "What do you want to say??"

I'm no snob. Experimental expression is a must. But I like to believe that art is "communication" not masturbation. If you express something so nebulous and you know that no one is likely to understand what you're saying off the bat----then why communicate anything at all?

There's an anecdote in Norman Rockwell's, "My Adventures as an Illustrator" where a young hippie was in his studio observing Rockwell's process. Rockwell was working an illustration of Johnny Appleseed and the hippie said, "Whatcha doing it that way for?" The hippie scribbled off some unintelligible (but I guess passionate) scribbles onto a piece of paper, declaring it to be better depiction of Johnny Appleseed. Rockwell told him no one would be able to identify the scribbles but himself. The hippie responded, "So? What difference does it make about anyone else? I know it's old Johnny. I'm painting it for myself."

Expressing something for yourself is one thing, but the moment you put it out there for others to see now, you're communicating. Don't you want to be understood?

There are worthwhile, visually beautiful and sometimes inspiring things there no doubt. (Maybe that's enough?) Some things communicated to me better than others. I'll leave it at that.

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