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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fine Art

This semester I have been taking an Art History class that has helped me to have a greater understanding of fine art. It has also revealed some oddities. Such as painters in certain eras, giving a title to their works that is blatantly obvious to the viewer. This week's cartoon "Nude Woman on Couch with Guitar” is an example of that. A more interesting title might be, “My Mistress with Her Favorite Guitar”. Now isn't that better? We are given a little more information, and it seems less condescending. But then there is the opposite approach which is to not name a painting at all by using “Untitled”.  I realize that titles imply meanings, and some artists may not want to put  preconceived ideas into the viewer's mind. But I think "Untitled" gets over used, and I find that a bit lazy.  Do not worry art world, I'm quite capable of deriving my own meanings from art works regardless of the given title. How about this; an artist gets to name just one of their works “Untitled”,  and they can do this one time in every media that they work in. After that, they have to commit to actually naming what they create.

However, beyond an obvious title or no title at all, there is then supposedly all sorts of symbolic imagery loaded into a painting. Perhaps so much so that only an art historian can decipher it for you--yikes! To loosely paraphrase Freud, can't a painting, be just a painting? Are there some people in the art world who want to over complicate things in order to seem smart, and important? That would not be surprizing as it is human nature to do so. But perhaps I'm still a Neanderthal when it comes to all this, and I may develop a different opinion as I go further down the art history road....next semester.

I encourage people to read Tom Wolfe’s, The Painted Word.  It’s a fast, and fun read that gives valuable insight into the peculiar world of modern art.

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