October 3, 2013

Toddler art or Modern art

Recently I was sent a link to take the quiz ‘Can You Tell The Difference Between Modern Art And Paintings By Toddlers?’. I scored a moderate 8 out of 11. My art nerd pride was hurt that I was unable to determine between a 4 year old and a notable painter. For a second there, I found myself believing modern art was a hoax. I thought I had been tricked all these years having been led to believe that doodles on a page were actually beautiful, revolutionary, and important. Immediately after having these thoughts however, my good sense returned back to me and I felt the need to defend the importance of these artists and their work.

To be fair, modern art spans the better part of a century, and they are specifically referring to abstract expressionists whose philosophy was to abandon the narrative and representative subject matter to explore pure abstraction in search of the sublime.

When you simply look at their paintings it is easy to say “I could do that”, and the answer is yes you could, but could you do it consciously while disregarding artistic norms to discover the autonomy of painting and exploring the essence of painting itself making the visceral visual?

Though the marks of some modern art may seem infantile, I assure you that no toddler is capable of the same visual philosophy. So now, when you view modern art, remember that everything you need to know you didn't learn in kindergarden.

It is as much about the why as the what.



“We favor the simple expression of complex thought”

- Clyfford Still in a letter to the New York Times outlining the abstract expressionists point of view