Art critic
Craft and creativity

What do you represent?

I have to confess, I’ve never appreciated this kind of art. I feel exploited by the ‘artist’ who has some (I imagine) only vague, shallow and pretentious notions which he uses as his ‘inspiration’. Any real meanings the art may (or may not) have are cynically kept mysterious to give the illusion of potential great depth and wisdom.

Details from Ad Reinhardt’s six-page series How to Look at Art, Arts & Architecture, January 1947 (via Stopping Off Place).


2 thoughts on “What do you represent?

  1. nannus says:

    I disagree. I think It is not the right approach to expect a meaning from every work of art. In abstract art, the artist does not create a sign, neither a symbol nor an iconic image. Instead, he or she creates a structure that is beautiful, in the sense a crystal, a flower, a picture of a galaxy might be beautiful. This is not about passing any message but evoking an emotion of beauty. Look at a landscape that you find beautiful. Nobody put it there to convey meaning, but it may evoke feelings of beauty, of fascination or other emotions. So this is simply a different game with different rules. The question “what does it represent” is the wrong one.

    • I think I had a different kind of art in mind when I wrote this. I lept from abstract art to modern art without realising, probably because I was reacting to the ‘what does this represent?’ message in the cartoon. The kind of art I was thinking of thinking of is often ugly and base. If it isn’t supposed to have a deeper meaning, then I fail to see the point of it at all.

      You’re right though. I think abstract art can work well on a purely aesthetic level.

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