Thursday, August 24, 2017

Artsy Fartsy

Video taken from The MOMA in New York last July 2017

The first time I ever saw live abstract art was during our high school field trip to the Ayala Museum in Makati, I think. It was this series of chaotic, mindless doodles on large styropore boards hanging on the wall. Upon seeing them amongst the usual form of art works I was conveniently accustomed to, I began to feel uncomfortable, irritated, and extremely annoyed. I remember having violent reactions. Like, I wanted to tear them off of the wall and throw them in the trash bin, where I thought they belonged. The nerve... of these people to consider these worthless doodles art!

Part of the annoyance comes from the fact that inside my head, I was thinking, “It's something a kindergarten student could've easily done. Or a chimpanzee. Or me.  Goodness! I can even doodle better than that! But why this guy? And who are these pretentious people who allowed this guy to show off this nonsense and pass it off as art? Inside the museum? Is this a joke? What the fuck?” The more I thought about it, the more it made me furious. So much hate and judgement.

I remember being at Tate Modern in London once and thinking most of the stuff were hilarious and absurd. Those awful art installations -- in one room there were these crumpled pieces of newspaper bunched up in mounds on the floor; in another room, strings of used soap tablets suspended from the ceiling; and in another room, a projected video of a guy putting sticky mud all over his face. Ugh. I remember laughing. It was all so absurd! Funny, I usually have very high tolerance for the absurd and the silly. But for some reason, I become totally anal when it comes to works of art. Especially in museums.

Throughout the years, I have calmed down, and started reacting less violently to abstract art and silly art installations... depending on my mood, of course. I do like the feel of certain contemporary art museums though, like the Guggenheim in Bilbao and in New York. Those museums made me feel like I myself was part of the actual exhibits. There were some that I liked and there were some that I didn't care for so much. But there was no more hate. Just like a lot of things that I have learned to live with, I have learned to be at peace and be more tolerant of certain art forms. I like to call it maturity. :D

Maybe it's what abstract and contemporary art is all about -- an invitation to participate, to engage yourself and accept that things are not always what you expect them to be, and to live a little. This "forcing you to engage yourself" is really tough for introverts, like myself, come to think of it. It's probably why I will never get used to these kinds of art works. It's much too taxing for me. I'd rather be cool and calm and in control. Especially in museums... coz that's what I came there for in the first place.

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