Beethoven Was a Punk Rocker
This idea could not be more true for me. My perceptions of China were all wrong. The world I knew two weeks ago is forever gone, and my life altered in an anticipated and expected way, but delivered to me in a very unexpected form.
After wandering a number of the galleries in downtown shanghai, I realized I knew nothing about art if this was it. I had run into the same scene in NYC and other places….where it becomes less about the content, and more about the story of how it was created. Giant paper mache structures hanging from the ceiling, with no real semblance of anything, just crudely put together with no apparent skill, looking like soggy toilet paper, or the strange empty room with a box full of broken clay figures, and the clay figures looked like kindergartners made them. And it went on, stranger and more bizarre shows that showed no sign of any talent at anything other than pissing in a jar and putting a cross in it. In other words, it’s about hype and storytelling, over it just being art. For years I have been pissed off by people calling their pieces “modern art”, but they don't know the history behind the term or what it means. They simply throw it out there in a blanket statement to cover their ass when they produce a piece with no talent and no work, and then to top it off they slap a $4000 price tag on it arbitrarily. I often tell people that if a real estate agent tried to sell you a shack on the hill with no plumbing or electric, you wouldn't buy it for an exorbitant cost because it was “modern architecture.” The same applies to art, and the arts.
There is a reason I love Mikhail Baryshnikov: because he was not only great at expressing the essence of art in ballet, but he strove to be better and was talented in the first place. Just because it is presented as “The New York Ballet” or “Harvard” does not mean it is the best. I once saw a young aspiring ballerina that made up her own modern dance at a small rural community talent show, and it was so beautiful that I cried… andTed Kazinsky went to Harvard. I recently saw The Phantom of the Opera performed at the Shane Center in Livingston, Montana. It was put on by high school kids, and they put every other Broadway performance to shame. It was one of the best plays I have ever seen anywhere in the world. I love a lot of bands, not because of the hype, (I never thought going backstage was a big deal because I had worked so many big shows such as Paul McCartney this summer, and I saw that they are just people, not nearly as special as they were made out to be), but because they were talented.
I love Beethoven and the Metallica equally because of the works they have produced. Lloyd Wright, Santiago Calatrava, and Le Corbusier all did incredible things with buildings and sculpture that resonate with me, and inspire me when I see their creations. That being said I also love a lot of the punk rock of the 80’s, and most of them were no-talent musical hacks without melodious voices, but what they were doing was very progressive, expressive, and most important: it was rebellion against the old way of thinking.
The definition of modern art is: “usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation. Modern artists experimented with new ways of seeing and with fresh ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. A tendency away from the narrative, which was characteristic for the traditional arts, toward abstraction is characteristic of much modern art.”
Then again, I have no official studying or traditional learning in the realm of art.