First, I need to clarify that I do not hate art. I love a lot of it, but this is going to be about pretentious art. I get angry when I see extremely talented artists give up on their passion while an artist whose art can be recreated on MS paint gets her own exhibit and articles written about her.
Or entire galleries wasted literally on a white thumbtack pinned on a wall.
What really makes this exhibit “pretentious” is the fact that they named it “Huis Clos” instead of naming it what it really is – “a thumbtack.”
So why does this type of art exist? And more importantly, how is this a business that makes money?
I have a theory that pretentious people tend to be insecure when it comes to their personal tastes. And this leads to a large amount of people following this type of art because it’s what the cool people do. Here’s the experiment I’d do to prove this theory (it’s also my Penn and Teller: Bullshit show pitch). Make up a fake artist, Jan Stejyokof, “a Swedish transsexual whose art reflects a post-contemporary response to the pseudo trans-humanist culture.” Buy a few poster boards from rite aid and tape them to the walls of a gallery. Watch as people spend minutes staring at 99 cent poster boards. Seem farfetched? Here are some pictures from actual art exhibitions:
Anyone who was confident in their taste of art may say, “I don’t get it,” or, “these are obviously just poster boards from Rite Aid, the price tag is still on this one,” but most likely no one will. Why? They’re afraid of a response like, “Why don’t you go back to [insert southern state here],” or, “you embody the pseudo trans-humanist culture this artist is rebelling against,” which means absolutely nothing because these are random words I strung together.
So what about the artists who create these masterpieces?
I do have a bit of personal experience with creating this so called contemporary art. When I was around 14 I really wanted to own a Corvette Zo6 ,so I decided to sell art until I reached $50,000 (yes, I was that delusional). When I was coming up with ideas about what to paint, I was not thinking about what would make an intriguing painting, or what would look good on a wall, I was thinking “how can I trick people into thinking this art is worth a lot of money without spending more than twenty working on it.” This is an example:
I described it as post abstract and then related it to feminism somehow, when in reality, it just a bunch of splattered nail polish and a solo cup. This took about 2 minutes to do. I never made much money on this, but it’s probably just because I sold this stuff on Ebay instead of Etsy.
I’m sure there are many genuine contemporary artists, because most people are not greedy assholes like me. The seat cushions on airplanes may be very emotionally significant to Fabio Keiner. Who knows?
For all we know Carmen Herrera’s art could be an insight into human nature, so deep nobody can understand it, or maybe she’s sitting in her loft laughing at us stupid Americans for buying her triangle paintings.
But we as a people need to stop looking for meaning where there is none. Sometimes it’s just a damn thumbtack.
-Ileana Kennedy, Staff Writer