On Modern Art

I would like to first say that I might offend someone with this piece. I also am not talking about abstract art which evokes emotion. I’m talking about art that only a ‘true’ artist would understand. I think art should bring out emotion in all people, regardless of where they come from.

(While confusion is techinically an emotion I don’t think that counts. =D)

On Modern Art

I’ve never really understood what makes an object art

When in these modern times some objects which we part,

With into the trash, end up on display

People pay to see, though they threw it away
That brings me to another subject for which my mind disdains

Modern poetry and it’s jumbled words bringing me much pain

Many have no rhymes, structure meter or form.

People continue reading thinking it’s the norm.
The trouble is this art persists as people keep on seeing

Hidden truths, novel ideas, the art must have deeper meaning

Yet when the viewers of the art at first do not understand

They’re educated as to what the artist then had planned
Art should not have meaning only known to few

Rather a collective truth, not just a truth for you


© Ryan Mathisen


2 thoughts on “On Modern Art

  1. I am an admirer of all art, even modern art. “Art should not have a meaning only known to a few”…well that can be applied to every single piece of art (from famous painting to a featured piece of rubbish in a contemporary art museum). There is no single piece of art that is understood by every single human who eyes bears it. More “accepted” forms art may include da Vinci, Caravaggio, Goya, etc…but are there not explanations about their pieces offered to the public through the use of publications, brochures, headphones, and even a small square stuck under the work of art? I’m not offended by your rhymes but I have had different versions of this argument with others who criticize art.

    • I realize that I did not communicate precisely what I intended through my poem. I do not think that all modern art is awful. I enjoy quite a lot of it. While I do not particularly favor free verse, I’ve seen it done very well, and I do not condemn it as an art form. Likewise on art from trash I have seen pieces that were very moving. Also, I recognized the need for explanation of works and I am not against that either.

      There are two types of modern art that I was trying to criticize through this poem. The first would be art for artists. In academia this principle is called the ‘ivory tower’, when you are so far removed from actual practice that your works on a subject have very little to do with the actual subject in practice. The second would be art that can only be appreciated if its over analyzed. This fits largely in the previous category.

      A perfect example of this would be the artist who cleaned a toilet and put it on display which received good reception. (I believe he was trying to prove that people are foolish, willing to think anything art and derive meaning) Another would be a classmate of mine from my past who argued that the writing of a single word on a piece of paper should be considered art.

      My qualm really is on art without substance, or purpose. Also with art with purpose so entirely convoluted that one would need a great deal of education in order to understand it.

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