Where do I Stand, What do I Want?

The title of this blog post is in reference to an event (which I wanted to attend, but was unable to), held by the Zentrum Paul Klee museum in Berne, Switzerland. I feel like these questions answer some of the questions that linger when we think about the point of art. While in Europe, I visited many, many museums. I was never much of an art aficionado until I just kind of was. Which made me wonder, what exactly changed to make me appreciate art?

Of course, not that I am an art expert. In fact, I am the exact opposite of one. Possibly a little less than that, even.

Considering I am at the ripe old age of nineteen, I can safely conclude that it wasn’t necessarily the art that changed. No, the main movements still stand, and the famous works of art are still famous. I never got modern art. What was the point of a canvas painted half black, half white?

According to Oscar Wilde (ever so clever in defending his controversial novel), art mirrors the individual and not the artist. It’s everywhere, but not always obvious - in museums, surely, but also on the streets, in books, and even at the top of the Sacre Coeur. So when I put myself as a point of reference, art became art.

It seems like a rather shallow and self-centered way of viewing art. A previous knowledge of art certainly helps when looking at formal works, to know the techniques, intent, the purpose, the legacy. Art was, after all, historically an aristocratic pursuit. But modern and contemporary art is less a portrayal of what someone sees through their eyes, and more an interpretation of it, which makes it no less real. I love that it’s okay with disobeying rules, with dissonance, and with disregard of plain sight. The artist establishes a position (which is sometimes no position at all), and from where we stand, art mirrors us. It tells us more about ourselves than the artist themselves.

I think this explains why I was so impacted by some of the art I saw in Europe. I began to see it everywhere. The titular questions weren’t necessarily answered, but I began to ask them of myself.

originally published on https://theintrepidian.wordpress.com/