Modern Art

Black picture frames. White square plates. Red walls in an apartment. This to me is modern.

Those of you who know me know that there is absolutely nothing modern about me. Head to toe, inside and out, you will not find a single, modern, contemporary, “normal” bone in my body. And I accept that. From my taste in art, literature and culture, I prefer the traditional classics all the way.

A while ago, I was completely against modern art. I’m not talking about anything done by Picasso or Toulouse Lautrec. I mean the kind of works that seem like they could be created by anyone. A black dot on an empty canvas with some convoluted meaning behind it wasn’t art to me. A four-year-old could execute that work just the same. Sometimes, at first glance, I still don’t consider it art.

I haven’t been to the museum lately, so I was thinking about my next visit. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) is my favorite because of everything it has to offer, especially the Wrightsman Galleries (I’ll talk about them in my next post). An entire wing made up of rooms taken straight out of 16th century French hotels and chateaus, there is nothing modern about it. Then I realized that every time I go to the MET, I never think to see something new, something out of my element of taste. I never veer off course or separate from the norm. So instead, I did what I do best and wrote it down in words to try and see the other side.

   Raw. Deconstructive beauty. Abstract emotion. This to me is modern art. While classical art depicts the scenes of every day life, or in many cases, the dreams of a wealthy, regal life, modern art turns it upside down. Classic contrapposto nudes versus contorted and twisted ones. The finest detail of brush stroke in light and shade, to a sharp contrast of stark black and white. Sometimes no areas of grey, no blended shades or depth, no harmonious tones. No clear cut meaning to greet you at the surface. Two dimensional art forces the viewer to see in 3D. Modern art forces the viewer to be open and understanding, and that the imagination is always subject to change.

I will never understand why every design or work of art, past and present, feels the need to always be looking forward to the future. However, I am trying to be a little bit more open about it. So the next time I return to the MET, I will keep the word “modern” in mind.


The Duchess of New York


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