Saturday, February 22, 2020

Modern Art - What do you see? | NOVA this Week

Observations from my weekly wanderingsusually in Northern Virginia (NOVA).

I won’t be finishing my current reads in the next week, and since I haven’t done NOVA this Week in forever (479 days), I thought this as good a time as any.

I was in a public building recently, that had a display of modern art. I was looking thoughtfully at one piece when I colleague asked, "what do you see?" I was caught unprepared and replied, "nothing really." I hate being caught, I've prepared…for next time.

Top 10 responses for What do you see? [in modern art]

10. Diogenes eating a waffle
9. The cold excess of capitalism
8. Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show
7. A snow leopard perceiving its reflection in a pool of water
6. Chaos as a metaphor for self-perception
5. Antediluvian man holding a gourd
4. The Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run
3. The Muffin Man
2. Passionate indifference
1. A psychedelic minstrel levitating an evanescent enclave tentatively perceived as a cosmic Gordian Escher knot

Wanderer’s further commentary: I don’t believe all modern art is bad, but I do think it is easy to foist off works that lack artistry as such. Or, as Sir Tom Stoppard put it…
Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.



  1. "Chaos as a metaphor for self-perception" is pretty good! But you might get a request to elaborate after expressing it. :D You might get that after any of them. I think you should flip the question, say you are still pondering it but what does your interlocutor see?


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