Really, that’s art?

Elegant prose and name recognition turns nothing into something

Living in Grand Rapids this year now means I can fully take in the multi-week experience that is ArtPrize.

And by take in, I am referring to looking at any object or collection of objects and interpreting them as some masterpiece.

While walking around downtown, I could gaze upon a large dumpster with trash overflowing past the fill line. If I simply affixed a small sign with a voting number, people would inevitably interpret what they see as a metaphysical representation of our landfills and our planned obsolescence consumer lifestyle.

This rhetoric comes naturally to me through several years of photography classes in high schools where photo critics would devolve into trying to one up each other’s art justification. Some were able to escalate a snap shot into art; others could not.

Basically, art appreciation can been seen as an art form of its own. The blurred lines between a Jackson Pollock drip painting and a four year old without supervision would be enough to impress even Robin Thicke.

Several polls have been done to see if the public can identify masterpieces of art versus junk acquired at thrift shops and the public tended to pick framed fabric that was purchased for five dollars. Other polls had art experts give raving reviews of how a child’s finger-painting represented a certain art movement perfectly with such an emotional chord being struck.

When no name is connected, artwork seems to get the most appreciation for the technical aspects. Being inventive with a sculpture or devising a new medium can garner more respect than a long exposition coupled with a simple piece.

And yet, some artists go for shock value to gain attention. But shock and awe don’t do well in collecting acclaim, just attention.

Art does factor in such a major subjective component, so you can take all my blabber for nothing and continue to blindly follow the fine arts, but try to approach new artwork with a bit more skepticism and don’t blindly take a piece as a masterpiece because of what others say. Have your own voice and express your opinion since art is very much a personal experience.