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Modern Art: Straying Away From the Flock

MoMA+%28Manhattan%2C+New+York%2C+USA%29
MoMA (Manhattan, New York, USA)

MoMA (Manhattan, New York, USA)

t-mizo from Flickr

t-mizo from Flickr

MoMA (Manhattan, New York, USA)

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Modern art has a bad reputation. Often, it is associated with low-effort, complacency, and even a lack of artistic integrity. When I visited the Museum of Modern Art, I kept hearing the phrase, “I could have made this.”

Within the same museum, one may be surprised with a particular exhibit within her installation: “Apple,” by Yoko Ono. An apple is placed onto a plexiglas pedestal, with the brass plaque, “APPLE.” In 1966, its asking price was £200, which by today’s standards is roughly $3,600.

People are quick to criticize the simplicity of “APPLE” because Ono had no hand in its creation. No, Ono did not invent the apple, but she conceptualized it; the modern art world accepts it enough to put it in a museum. The artist does not tell viewers what the apple means. Maybe she doesn’t know what it means. It doesn’t matter- the apple’s meaning still comes into question.

“APPLE” falls into the category of “found-object art” or “ready-mades.” There are some “ready-made” artists which deviate from this by modifying the object. Damien Hirst’s work, for example, is vaguely similar to taxidermy. “Away From the Flock,” contains a singular, deceased sheep, suspended in formaldehyde solution in a steel and glass case. Here, the symbolism is more obvious.

The work of Ono, Hirst, and their respective “ready-made” artists is much easier to accomplish in comparison to their traditional counterparts. Herein lies the difference: in modern art, technical capability is not the focus.

We judge by the effort behind it, not the piece itself (maybe because we emphasize the importance of diligence within society.)

Modern art isn’t about how it looks, rather, it is about how it makes you feel.

This warrants both negative and positive reactions. Therefore, you are allowed to feel offended by art. You are allowed to think, “I could have made this,” as long as you feel something.

So, if you’re searching purely for technical skill, do not turn to modern art. But, if you want something that challenges you to look beyond both aesthetic and tradition, then there is an entirety of work waiting to be viewed.

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Modern Art: Straying Away From the Flock