Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Bechtler v. A Camera Lens

Today I went to Charlotte's newest museum, The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. The building itself is an architectural marvel, though many of the specific names within are only meaningful to those with sea legs in the art world. My own background is planted in medieval, renaissance, and artisan or craft work. But a closer look at art of the past two hundred years has changed the way I understand the artistic process and the value of coming face to face with art in a proper context.

The democratization of art has bled over into gross overexposure. I doubt that Leonardo ever intended Mona Lisa to be viewed under a microscope by every individual with a fifth grade education. Its grotesque, pornographic. Even the most trained eye loses any aesthetic sensibility. Its just a cracked mess with an impossible climate in the background.

Modern art uses so many new elements that a person looking at the work on the computer and the viewer in a museum truly see radical different paintings. The painting that most struck me at the Bechtler was Nicolas de Stael's Landscape. You can "see" it by clicking on the link above and clicking on the "Collections" tab. De Stael forces the viewer to reckon with the editorial decisions an artist makes. For two dimensional art, De Stael utilizes layers in a way I'm not sure I've seen before in a painting. In some places canvas is visible, while in others there are half inch globs, resulting in a cartographic effect. For me, this result requires all the self restraint of waiting for an elevator beside a fire alarm. I'm dying to touch it. To peel back the layers and see what was originally there. He gives us peaks. Tiny lines of blue and violet were spared in the editing . It looks awkward among the sea of drab and yellow, maybe even suspenseful.

The modernists saw the direction of increased viewership and participation and upped the ante. They had to make something that required aesthetics, skill, and something incapable of reproduction by the camera.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Blog

I've been wanting to start a blog for a long time. The main thing that has held be back was thinking of a name. I'm spread too thin to narrow a whole blog down to one topic. I love art, humanity, Christ, work, nonviolence, and philosophy. In short, I'm serious. Not the smartest nor the most ambitious, but I'm always thinking about what it means to live the good life.

That means reviews, ruminations, recipes, and rants. With a little less alliteration.