My Kid Could Paint That


 Hello again.  It has been an interes ting week from a baseball perspective for me of late.  I had back to back outings where I threw the ball very well, yet gave up a few runs.  I followed it up with an outing where to my own estimation I threw terribly and had no feel for the strike zone, yet gave up no runs.  This is one of the annoying and irritating aspects of baseball and sports in general: sometimes your performance doesn’t match the results that you get.  However, that is the nature of things and there is no changing it so I’ll just be thankful for my last outing and keep plugging along.  From a team perspective the home stand that we finished last night was a modest success, if somewhat d isappointing at the end.  We won a three game series against Trenton to open up and split a four game series with Binghamton to finish it off.  However, our two losses were the final two games and our overall play was somewhat inconsistent so it is hard to really call it a success.  That being said, we’re still in first place and are nine games ahead of third-place  Bowie in the race for the playoffs as we open a five game series with Bowie tonight.

 

As promised in my previous entry, I made the rounds at the Akron Art Museum over the weekend.  I really like art and I would never want to discourage anyone from participating in the arts or visiting art museums, but I profess that I was very disappointed with my experience as at the Akron Art Museum.  While there were a few pieces that really struck me, like Robert Arneson’s copper sculpture Nuke News, Linda by Chuck Close and Rene Magritte’s Les pas perdus (The Wasted Footsteps),
Thumbnail image for Robert Arneson--Nuke News.jpgI was disappointed to find that the preponderance of the art was more along the lines of the nonsensical and (in my opinion) meaningless art of Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko.  Call me uncultured if you will, but to me things like Dan Flavin’s neon light tubes belong in a night club and not an art museum because they say nothing and represent nothing.  Many of the movements throughout art history have been reactions to conditions in the art community and world at large and as such have had an impact that is meaningful in the context of its own time that can continue to be powerful long after its creation.  I feel like works such as those shown below are less representative of this legacy than they are examples of how many in the art community have completely lost touch with reality as they have become more insulated from mainstream America and as price tags on works of art have spiraled upwards (for an awesome and hilarious parody of this fact, see the movie Art School Confidential).  That isn’t to say that art has to be masterful or even technically proficient to be beautiful and meaningful (so what if it looks like something your kid painted in art class, unless your kid is Marla Olmstead they didn’t, so save it), just that there should be an actual attempt to demonstrably express something to the viewer and beyond a certain level of abstraction that ceases to be possible.  Many of the works I saw over the weekend cross this line and then hide behind a pseudo-intellectual wall placard explaining them rather than creating something meaningful in its own right.  All that being said, despite the small proportion of worthwhile pieces to be found, the excellent ones were definitively worth seeing so check the museum out if you’re ever in Akron (it’s right downtown near Canal Park–a great pre-game activity?) Well, that seems like a sufficiently long and rambling rant for today so I’ll leave you with some examples of the art of which I speak so you can judge for yourself and with that call it a day.

Image list: Above: Nuke News by Robert Arneson. Below, top to bottom. Les pas perdus (The Wasted Footsteps) by Rene Magritte, The Nominal Three by Dan Flavin, Untitled by Mark Rothko, Wisdom by Helen Frankenthaler.

 

Magritte--les pas perdus.jpg
dan_flavin the nominal three.jpg
Thumbnail image for Mark Rothko--Untitled. 2.jpg
Frankenthaler.jpg

4 comments

  1. Mary

    Your assessment of modern art is really interesting to me, as I am both an Indians fan and enrolled in an MA/PhD program in art history, and for the most part, I think you’re very right. 20th century art is far from my focus (I study 19th cent. French art), but I am also very troubled by artists who hide behind a level of pseudo-intellectualism that they use to elevate both the scholarly and monetary value of their art.

    If you haven’t been though, you should definitely try to go up to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Although I’m not sure what’s currently on display, I heard that they recently opened their modern galleries, and I know that they have a large Arneson sculpture, an exceptional Chuck Close self-portrait, and a number of other works that I think you might really appreciate. Good luck against Bowie!

  2. jp48

    Great blog!
    Maybe it’s the lack of meaning in modern art that paradoxically gives it meaning. Doesn’t the fact that a line of light bulbs or a few smatterings of paint could be considered art worthy of being displayed in a museum, in itself, make a strong statement about society? Something to think about. Or maybe I’m full of the same pseudo-intellectual babble as the wall placard.

  3. chris@baseballart.com

    Liked reading your comments, Neil. Great when athletes are involved in things besides their sport. Even better when one is able to articulate his thoughts as clearly as you have done.

    You might be interested in checking out http://facebook.com/baseballart or the baseballart.com website.

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