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The problem with modern artists

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Larry F, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    is when they come over to the house for a reception, when I'm having a pain thing (cidp). Actually, it wasn't bad at all (except the pain part). My wife teaches in the art department and they like to party. Talk and party. Party and talk. Talking about parties.

    Tonight, she and another faculty member (younger, passing through) hosted a visiting artist, which entailed a 2-hour talk and then a reception at our house. I've done a million of them myself, with composers, so it's old hat.

    While I was at home, taking care of the pizzas, my wife was at the talk. She said the artist had a very cool idea, with some very inspiring things to say (inspiring meaning worthy of stealing), but that the physical result in the gallery looked humdrum and nothing special. Most of the talks I've heard by artists (and not just any artists: any faculty member will tell you how scrutinized requests for visitors are), have been pretty good, where not only are the ideas, which are usually outcomes and variations of a primary idea, interesting (and stealable), but the physical works themselves can really reach out and smack you. But sometimes you hear the spiel, then see the outcome and you go, this is it?

    My wife is an anxious entertainer, who begins days before, re-arranging the furniture and moving my stuff. No matter whether she or I moved a particular thing, it seems that I always have to make a special trip to find it. I haven't figured out the economics concerning the way we move my stuff out sight whenever artists, my students, and random people come over, but the biggest problem is that we don't move everything at one time, to one location. By stuff, I mean my laptop and wooden box of sundries, and whatever deep-tissue torture devices happen to be out.

    The reception seemed to go OK (I had to lay down in the bedroom--some of them are used to it), and Mei-Mei, as usual, was the star beauty cat. She was prancing around for an hour after they left. Every party has a downer in some form, and this one was that my wife's co-host contributed two cases of Pabst's. But when offered one, he declined and got one of the craft beers in the kitchen. Junior faculty are so entertaining, because they are just starting to become of aware of the attitudes and expectations that none of us ever saw as students. We are not laughing at them; we are laughing at ourselves, and trying to recall what was in our minds when we were doing that stuff, trying to fit it and adapt to the job.

    Some pizza slices, cookies, and chips were left behind, and maybe even a can or two of Pabst. That's sort of my end of the whole deal.
    Greenmachine, Ironwolf and waparker4 like this.

  2. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Mar 11, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Great little story, Larry. I can see where these gatherings may be a bother to deal with, but, what exactly is the problem with the artist or artists?
    Flat6Driver, soulman969 and troy2003 like this.

  3. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 27, 2016
    Years ago I saw an Ai Wei Wei exhibit at the Hirshorn that really impressed me, even though I knew very little about what he was doing. Then later I watched some youtube interviews with him talking about the exhibit and showing him and his workers putting stuff together, and it was a real "ah-HA!" moment.

    I guess sometimes an artist's explanation helps the audience get more out of the experience, and sometimes it's an even greater waste of time than just looking at the art.

  4. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    Iowa City, IA
    Oh, yeah, that. I was trying for a catchy title to lead into a story about, well, not much. Artists are fine by me, actually. The problem with modern artists, you could say, is that they make me lose track of my stuff. But I couldn't really use that as a thread title, like, "Losing my stuff" or "My wife moves my things."
    ponce likes this.

  5. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    Apr 20, 2013
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    So, I read that story a few times - I kept wondering why you are giving beer to one of your cats.

    Then I realized Mei-Mei was Junior Faculty member, and "star beauty cat" was not literal.

    Here I thought one of your cats was making the rounds for attention. When I re-read this with a different meaning, it made more sense, and I finally got the point. I guess I got stuck on a literal interpretation of a descriptive term that threw me into the weeds.

    I spent some time a few weekends ago with an artist friend of ours. We enjoyed spending some time together - he is very much an artist, to the point he sometimes "forgets how to pay bills" (his words, not literal, but you get the idea). I am very much a left brain analyst; if there isn't math to prove it, it doesn't exist. Interesting interactions ensued.

  6. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2009
    Nashville TN
    I've never been crazy about so-called artist statements. A little too much like songwriter stage raps eplaining what the song is about...

    With modern art, I'd usually prefer ambiguity.

  7. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 9, 2012
    In the early 90's I was invited by a lady friend to attend a "happening" at a local university. It featured a Russian artist/painter/student who had also begun dabbling in music (guitar). I was asked to bring a guitar, so I could perform with said artist. It was a very surreal feeling upon entering the library/student center. The expected finger food buffet and wine greeted us at the door. Several ballerinas whirled about the room to no music, while wearing jewelry fashioned by another artist. I assumed you could purchase said jewelry, if you so desired. I was eventually led to meet the star attraction. He was a nice, personable young man who was painfully attempting to form a few open chords on an entry level classical guitar. An elderly American woman sat close to him and repeated the phrase "I did good, didn't I?" over, and over again. (I later found out from my lady friend that she had purchased the guitar for him, and was trying very hard to "get in his pants") I eventually was prodded to uncase my Gibson and join in. He wanted to hear "something by the Beatles", so I played "Dear Prudence" for him. As "D" was one of the open chords he was learning he had me show him the opening sequence a few times. I really don't remember much about his paintings. They were modern art type things. Geometrics, bold colors, etc.
    In the end I came away with the reaffirmation that I am more of a backyard barbeque type guy, and really like a good cheese burger. No ballerinas.:D
    ndcaster and xafinity like this.

  8. Chud

    Chud Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Dec 30, 2010
    New York City
    I can't tell if that is just really good sarcasm, but I'm pretty sure that Larry's cat is named Mei-Mei, and she was not being used as a literary device, nor was she drinking beer. Lol :lol:
    t guitar floyd likes this.

  9. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free + Supporter

    for me beer is always a good literary device
    kuvash likes this.

  10. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    'The problem with modern artists'....if there IS a problem....of the visual type in the view a performing artist perhaps is that Visual artists don't bring canvas, paint, clay, or whatever media they work in to the party and sit around doing their art as musical artists might???? They have to talk about it because they do it in private most of the time. If they sat with each other commenting on the works in progress, then their product would not be personal.
    As for the trade of Pabst for craft paraphrase an old song....drink what you bring.
    xafinity and Driver3 like this.

  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    I'd like to listen to artists talk about art.

    Lately, what I hear at parties is parents talking about their kids' sports. Get two soccer (or volleyball or basketball or ...) parents together and that's all they'll talk about. Kill me now!
    Flakey and kuvash like this.

  12. dogwatermike

    dogwatermike Tele-Meister

    May 10, 2014
    I get lots of good info and insight from TPRI and Dr Larry's posts.... and I know university professors are on the cutting edge of new developments and hearing about the two cases of Pabst ... that must be a new stylein' trend!! Cool!! I heard it first here! I'm on it! I'll try serving that my next get-together with my scientist and engineer pals ... But will these guys be hip enough to appreciate it?? We'll see! Cowabunga!

  13. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 5, 2006
    Sinatra's World
    I am the creator and sole exponent and practitioner of New Beat Existentialist Expressionism, a school of poetry I founded in the 1990s. The motivation for founding the school was twofold:

    1) My poetry sucked

    2) I thought if I gave it a cool name that made people sound smart for reading it, it just might catch on.

    Number one stands on its own as an empirical truth.

    Number two never had the chance to be tested, as none of my poetry was ever published in any magazine that would allow me to explain its inherent importance and worldview-changing potential.

    If the World Wide Web had existed in 1993, who knows? I might be another T.S. Eliot today!

    And, yes, there's a point buried in there about the state of modern art that is relevant to some of the discussion in this thread. You just have read with a fresh eye to find it! ;)
    xafinity likes this.

  14. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    dogwatermike, you might reread Larry's post. The fellow who brought the Pabst was not bringing 'hip' beer. He was nice enough to bring something to the party, but he preferred Larry's craft beer.
    Once paraphrase.... in my part of the country; if you can't dance with the person you brought, don't dance. eeehaw.......

  15. musicalmartin

    musicalmartin Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 8, 2007
    Norfolk UK
    Art shouldn't be about explanations .If you cant see its statement about oppression in your favorite failed regime then it could equally be a picture of ten naked men at a leap frog party ."I see clouds and sea " says one .Oh thats where I vomited over it thinks the artist .'I am pleased you saw the connection " says the artist

  16. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    The individuals who are promoting "art" are not primarily interested in explaining it. After all once you know what it means you don't need it anymore, do you?

    They're doing the sales dance. The artists and those assisting them are schmoozing with the would be customers and petting their egos, not in the direction of helping them understand the artistic method or mood, but to seduce them.

    I'll tell you what I feared this thread would be about. A bunch of people milling about with personal hand held devices, not acknowledging anyone else in the room. That, to me, is what has spoiled more parties I've been invited to than anything else. If I can avoid that I will drink even Coors, and I'll be happy to help Larry put away his stuff in any way he likes!

  17. jondanger

    jondanger Friend of Leo's

    Jan 27, 2011
    Charm City, MD
    Everyone should check out Neil Young answering questions about his art in this video. Basically he doesn't know anything about it! So how can it be good if he can't explain it! I guess it's a good thing it's not modern?

    Interviewer: Why do people like your music so much?

    Neil: I don't know

    Interviewer: How do you write a song?

    Neil: Some days I wake up and write a song, sometime I don't write one

    Interviewer: How do you know when a song is good?

    Neil: Is a song good?

    *facetiousness notice - I is joking forever

  18. dogwatermike

    dogwatermike Tele-Meister

    May 10, 2014
    Yep...but I'm thinking he knew something we-all didn't.... he had the extraordinary vision... and I'm trying to pay attention!

    The last time I had a PBR was 45 years ago... my college roommate and I decided to buy a six PAC of Buckhorn beer - 99 cents a six PAC - somehow that turned into a quest over the next month to sample all the 99 cent beers we could underwhelming experience! But maybe I missed something with the PBR, based on this new information!

  19. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 27, 2016
    I know you said you're just being facetious, but OTOH maybe sometimes not having an explanation is the best kind of explanation.
    jondanger likes this.

  20. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 5, 2006
    Sinatra's World
    You sound like a modern artist... ;) :D :p

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