Friday, November 16, 2012

NYC: Art Galleries

As of today I have now seen all the galleries I intend to see in New York and it's surrounds. And I have to admit, I don't go to galleries in Melbourne, just exhibition openings of local artists, I've checked out a few free exhibitions at ACMI I think, and seen about two NGV shows (Dali and Tezuka)...

I don't know, I should say upfront I kind of hate galleries > not the art on display in them, but how they are displayed and the crowds they attract > and haven't figured out how to interact with them yet. For example, I personally find information plates and other devices that offer 'intended interpretations' an usurpation of the observers role/a confession of failure by the artist. Although obviously art is necessarily undefinable as it is, art need not always communicate or engage the observers in any other way to be called art. A concept that isn't even worth struggling with, but the thing is that most artists create art with the intention of communicating or otherwise engaging an observer, they make their art to be seen/heard/interacted with. It is rare for me to come across a piece where I would say 'fair enough' on the divide between what message is apparant from the piece and what the information card/tour guide/audio guide says they are about.

BUT sometimes those cards just carry information about the place/times/history etc of the piece that put it into context and further your appreciation of the piece, or enable me to appreciate a piece that on first impression didn't.

Anyway, I elaborated on all that because the world is for all types and you can obviously discount my views on the basis of how I approach art. New York city plays host to heaps of 'Modern Art'.

There are some amazing gallaries, go find them. Or if you really intend to check them out and think my opinion valuable just ask me before you go. But you know... they are there, and New York has plenty of gallary space dedicated to modern art.

1. You don't see people sketching at galleries here like you do in Europe. This is because Modern Art is iconoclastic, not focused on the technical abilities of creating the works themselves, they are largely conceptual. Perhaps the most common reaction to modern art is 'I could do that' and that is because on a technical level - many people could, they simply don't. It's not an ignorant critique, it is intuitive.
2. Art is hard to write about, but a large part of modern art and a recurring them is that it challenges the preconceptions of what art is. Much was apparently shocking at some point. Van Gough's Starry Night may now be one of our most entrenched concepts of what art is, but when it was painted it was highly challenging because it didn't look like a classical landscape. But walking around galleries that play host to Modern Art, you never encounter 'shock' or even any bodylanguage that suggests a person is being challenged. I read far more 'good job me. I'm so progressive' body language. The art appreciation equivalent of 'oh you're gay, that's cool my uncle is gay.'
3. Another facial expression I see a lot of here is - 'is this what inspiration feels like?' that I feel is a response to overvaluing obfuscation and 'challenging' ways of representation that has progressed to the point of art being produced that's intrinsic meaning or objective has been obscured away beyond retrieval. The art is meaningless, a shape, that creates no impression and yet I pick up an 'emperors new clothes' vibe of people wishing to contemplate up meaning that simply isn't there.

Anyway, it has all been very inspiring, particularly many of the gallaries 'recent acquisitions' sections, and I am motivated to return to melbourne and produce art, perhaps even a modern-art inspired piece.

I have also seen here one of the best gallaries that I have seen anywhere in the world. Come check out NYC's galleries some time. Just take it easy when you do. It is not a test.

No comments: