Mountains, Navel, Anchors, Table by Arp

 gouache with cut outs 1925

gouache with cut outs

Shelby, Thanks for sending the image to me!

Questions for our readers:

How many times have you heard someone say “My kid could do that.” when you’re looking at modern art?  If you’re an artist does that statement make you angry? Do you think a child doesn’t have the mental development to do a masterpiece? ( What with all the deconstructing going on these days)  Or do you think art can come out of the subconscious mind?

At York Academy of Art our teachers told us “Don’t clean the cobwebs out of your mind in your art.” I can’t remember if it was Fitzgee or Wise  or both of them that told us your subconscious gives bad art. They said it’s boring to everyone except the artist and if you want someone who is interested in your subconscious you have to pay a shrink.

As always, feel free to disagree and it will be noted in comments.

Back to the 1st question: Can your kid do this or do better? The answer is YES . And kids should be encouraged to do art. Most kids who are born to be artists don’t get much support to follow the art path. At York Academy of Art we were told to do our roughs and get the plan worked out before we start on the finished piece. A child can do that if they want to.

When I work on a painting I ask myself 100 questions and find an answer to all of them before I call it finished. The problems I’m solving are questions like “Should I erase this line and draw it again or is it ok?” “Do these colors and values look right next to each other?” What do I need to do to make it look better?” “What is the next step?” It’s not a philosophical question. It’s not something sounding like it came out of the ozone. There’s a trend in modern art that Shelby and I laughed at ever since we were in school when artists write statements meant to confuse non artists. They make it sound like if you don’t ” like” their painting it’s because you don’t “get it” because it’s over your head. This is a falsehood in art. The pendulum started to swing back the other way last year. Deceptive artists will be known as fakes and forgotten soon. Art is a universal language and real art is understood by everyone including kids.

Mountains Navel Anchors Table is a good example of honest modern art. It was made to get a reaction out of you. Does this make you laugh? Does Mona Lisa with a moustache surprise you? Does Urinal Fountain by Duchamp make you angry? Are you desensitized and nothing will make you raise your eyebrows anymore?


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