Once in a while, its good to see what's going on in modern art, if only to reinforce my long-held opinion that its mostly garbage. Wednesday was no exception. The best I could say about the expo is that we didn't have to pay for it, as Wednesday nights are free at the MAC (musee d'art contemporain); otherwise, it was a waste of time.
When I look at art, any art, I use a simple benchmark: can the piece engage me in itself? Does it speak to me without using words, just by the observation, its own existence? If it doesn't, I don't see the point. You can blather on and on about whatever "significance" this may have on whatever, but if up front, the piece cant speak for itself, then its a waste of time. That is generally my perception of so-called modern art. You cant engage the piece without reading about the piece, according to (I guess) the artist explaining what its about...
And here we really sink into foul mire; all we really have to evaluate the piece is what someone said about it, because the damn thing is bloody silent. we saw weird shit, being portrayed as art because someone, somewhere said it was. And the commentaries on the pieces... a full room installation: two floors representing apartments, where long red pillars and mannequins are sparsely set in "everyday situations", in some cases, the pillars embedded as heads on the mannequins, the entire thing is painted white, with the exception of the pillars, being bright red. Supposedly, this had some sort of "risque humor" to it, and its meant to look like something out of a computer design program. The only humor I saw was the "artist" laughing as his/her installation got picked up by a major museum.
What is particularly sad, is that some artists clearly had technical skills; their subject matter, however, was in general, quite pointless. One artist, whom I thought had a good basic premise, took photographies in near pitch black rooms, so as to capture faint traces of light... except that the "subject" was rehearsal spaces for musicians and artists studios. Honestly, i see very little artistic merit at seeing other people's messes in near pitch black, poster-size photography. I guess I'm just a troll, but my building reaction to the entire thing was that I wanted to punch someone in the face.
I can "get" modern art; give me a Pollock, a Riopelle, they fucking speak without explanation, they don't even need fancy titles, nothing more than "untitled xx", they just scream at you... I saw brilliant stuff by Michael Snow, evocative video installations that could speak volumes... but in the majority of cases, so-called video installation are about as interesting and innovative as most performance art. And I'd rather see some guy putting a screw through his dick with a power drill than be subjected to another "clever" moron who think that a white room with mannequins is "risque" humor.
I have a name for people like that: I call them fartists.