understanding art

I ran into a concept last night that I find strange and funny and hope that it is something that changes as time goes on in our society.

The gallery that I am showing at this month is in the River East Arts Center which hosted their open house last night. I went and stood around and watched people filter through the spaces. Some just there for the wine, others making vague attempts to “understand” the works being offered in the various galleries. As I returned several times to the gallery hosting my show (Inspire Fine Art) I listened to a conversation between someone who wanted to buy a piece of mine and the gallery owner. The women who was interested in my work was explaining that she would not know “what to say” if she meet the creator of the work and was declining to be introduced to the artist (me).

When she figured out that I had walked up during the conversation she switched gears and began a polite conversation with me about the difficulty in talking to an artist about their work. She explained that she might, in discussing the piece, say something that could offend the artist, an incorrect interpretation of the work, etc. She said she really liked my work but did not want to talk about what see saw in the work as it may be “wrong”.

What intrigues me about this is not that idea that society has developed a “I don’t understand it” approach to modern art, which is an issue I have discussed and dealt with in the past. What got me thinking was the other artists, the ones who would be offended by a “misinterpretation” of their work and who would be angered or hurt by this misunderstanding.

The idea that an artist not only creates a piece but that the creator has a specific “correct” view of what the piece should mean to everyone and how the piece should be interpreted by everyone is absolutely ridiculous. The ego of the artist that thinks each of their work must be seen in only one way is astounding. How can anyone who makes art, that which purports to be the freedom of expression itself, dictate to another how they should “see” anything in the world?

If you make things, those things should have a life of their own once you have finished them. That life that they live must be something apart from you, the creator. It must exist as its own thing, evolving over time as it moves from context to context as a form of content.

[amidst these proceedings I was happy to meet another part of the shape of my friends lives in the world. Someone I can not believe I had not meet before – what a small world we live in.]


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