11 March 2009

Leave Modern Art to the Professionals!

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I am not usually a fan of Modern Art. In fact I can’t stand it. Too many times I’ve been dragged out to see a modern art exhibition and ended up throwing a tantrum in front of a paper cup in a frame that the artist has given some fancy name to and is charging $12,000 for. “This isn’t art you assholes!" I scream, "Learn how to draw!” at which point I am dragged out of the building by Security and jailed for 3 months. .....OK, it hasn’t happened yet, but I’m quite certain that it’s just a matter of time. All you have to do to become a “Modern Artist” it seems is think up ways to be increasingly more annoying.

Photobucket(The worst piece of "Modern Art" I have ever seen: A bathroom shelf with a glass of water on it called Oak Tree......FUCK OFF!!)

So this past week, I’ve had two Modern Art experiences and I have Good News and Bad News to report. First the Bad News: Modern art in it’s most banal form is alive and well at the S.M.A.K. Museum in Gent. We went there and saw canvas “paintings” in one solid color in red, blue and yellow; a slide projector which randomly projected different words such as “typewriter” or “alive” on the wall opposite it; and running films of plastic bags being blown about in the wind. PUH-LEEZE!! It’s this kind of Emperor’s New Clothes crap that keeps the so-called “Art Form” going, because it is SO daft that people think they’re just not “getting it” so they pretend that they are and these so-called “Artists” get lots of grants to create even worse stuff next season. Newsflash: There’s nothing to “get”! It’s a plastic bag! It’s impossible to feel an emotion over it! That emotion that you are feeling is homicidal rage that someone is actually being paid to produce this crap! The “Artist” would have made much better use of himself if he’d actually picked up the plastic bag and placed it over his head.

I’m not kidding you. If I had had a baseball bat and some lighter fluid with me it would have been a whole different afternoon.

OK. Now the Good News - There is one group of artists who know how to do Modern Art right: The Finns. As far as I’m concerned, Finnish people are the only ones who should be allowed to do Modern Art, and I don’t even care how fascist that sounds. Incase you aren’t aware, Finns are very odd people. I mean this in a good way. Perhaps it comes from living in a country encased in an iceberg with 14 minutes of sunshine per day (I’ve never been there, but this is what I assume): They have to find bizarre ways to entertain themselves and they do. Take as Exhibit A Finland’s entry in the 2006 song contest:

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They are a band called Lordi and they won, thereby putting Finland (and half-decayed zombies) firmly in the forefront of European culture. See what I mean? And these were Establishment Finns!

So when I got an invitation from my lovely Finnish friend Mira to her Art Piece, I suppressed my natural aversion to Modern Art for the evening and I was not disappointed. My friend Anya and I walked through the streets of Gent until we found the flashy sign out front:

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The show was called “Plan B” which I liked because it made me think that they had collectively scrapped their first idea for a show. Plan B is the fallback plan and therefore what is always planned all along.......am I reading too much meaning in?

We were greeted at the entrance by Mira dressed in some sort of futuristic outfit.

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She shuffled through some papers and told us that we needed to fill out some forms before being interrogated. We went to the bar area and proceeded to fill out the forms. The questions made no sense at all, much to the chagrin of my grumpy Russian friend.

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Luckily there was wine in plastic cups on hand to make it all worthwhile.

After filling out the forms we were assigned to different “lockets” to be asked questions.

I was ushered to a table where I was given a series of Rorschach inkblot test, the results of which were recorded into a notebook.

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This one is clearly a picture of my parents fighting.

Next I was asked a series of questions by a Finnish guy who kept slipping and reading the questions in Finnish.

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I answered them anyway and the answers were duly noted.

We were given drawings to write our own captions under:

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And captions to do drawings under:

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And all amidst a sort of 1984 theme:

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With a fabulous funky bar behind it:

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THAT my friends, is how you do Modern Art. Sure it made no sense, but it was good fun. And there were drinks. And laughs. Try getting that out of a plastic bag blowing in the wind!!
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6 comments:

Penelope said...

I like to think they named it Plan B after the morning after abortion pill, but I suspect that's just the romantic in me.

Not only is the plastic bag blowing in the wind thing pretentious, it's STOLEN. They got that idea from the pretentious broody kid in "American Beauty."

Jovanka said...

At least one of the bag films was from the person who made it for "American Beauty". Apparently getting attention from the film made him and others think it was relevant. God help us all.

Penelope said...

They made sport of that on the "Family Guy" cartoon. Peter (the main character) becomes entranced by a plastic shopping bag blowing around in the wind, and comments about what a miracle it is. Cut to God, watching from an overhead cloud and saying, "It’s just some trash blowing in the wind! Do you have any idea how complicated your circulatory system is?!"

Tenney said...

Your blog is great! I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. I thought the bar was actually the exhibit. I am gonna send this link to everyone I know. It is fucking great! (Excuse my French, oh, and sorry to the French-speaking Belgians, too.)

If the Finns and the Swiss ever start to breed and come up with a new race, we are screwed.

Tenney said...

I lived in Holland (1979-1986) and worked for Elsevier Science Publishers, B.V., in Amsterdam. They had quite a few large office buildings, and the corridor walls were decorated with pieces of "art" borrowed from the huge warehouse wherein was stored all of the subsidized "artwork" produced by the "artists" that graduated from "art school." When I lived there, the warehouse was reputed to contain 600,000 "works of art."

Anyway, the one that pissed me off the most was called "Rat Trap on Back." It looked to be an old wooden shutter from a window, and if you had the temerity to actually investigate and grab it and pull it out away from the wall, indeed, there was a mousetrap affixed to the back.

Brian said...

>>>They had quite a few large office buildings, and the corridor walls were decorated with pieces of "art" borrowed from the huge warehouse wherein was stored all of the subsidized "artwork" produced by the "artists" that graduated from "art school." When I lived there, the warehouse was reputed to contain 600,000 "works of art."<<

We have these here, too. They are called "dumps".