Call Me A Barbarian

I’m sorry. Call me a barbarian. Tell me I’m crude and have no sense of the finer things in life. Question my intelligence if you must, but I have to confess to something. I don’t get modern art.

It’s an opinion I’ve held for a long time and I know I’m not the first person to write about the subject, but I was reminded of it when reading about the recent sale of an abstract painting. Sotheby’s auctioned it off for more than $31 million, and get this — it’s named ‘Untitled’. You’d think a buyer could at least get something with a name for that kind of money, but maybe that’s part of the appeal. It’s sort of sending the message that it doesn’t need a name because it’s so freakin’ special.

And yet — as you can see from the accompanying photo — we’re not talking about something that really catches the eye. I mean, I’m not someone who thinks a painting has to look like a Norman Rockwell picture (not that there’s anything wrong with Norman Rockwell) but still.

I’m sure that art lovers will smile indulgently and think about how simple-minded and uninformed I am. And those same people can no doubt come up with a detailed analysis to prove that this painting — and modern art in general — is for real. But way down deep, don’t you sometimes wonder if the whole thing doesn’t bear a passing resemblance to the story of the emperor’s new clothes?

I guess all this doesn’t have much to do with the reason we’re here — music — so let’s remedy that. From the album of the same name (reviewed last year) — “Modern Art” by the Rippingtons.


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