Science and Art – the tools for discovery

The Old Masters of the Renaissance, viewed from today’s perspective, were wrong about the subjects. Most, not all of them. But they did what they could, to earn the buck, for instance portraits of boring rich men. That’s when they had fun painting amazing robes, though most of that work was done by the studio apprentice.
They painted old men in frocks, with tiaras on their heads, as the Popes and Cardinals were the main commissioners. (but watch that glow in the ring on the arthritic hand!)
They painted fat babies pointing at the sky, Madonnas holding them with sadness because, as the church preaches, they knew their baby was going to be crucified at some point in the future.
They painted fat, ugly women from Amsterdam or Mona Lisas, genetically deformed kings or semi-nude women modeled from men (not sure Michelangelo ever saw a naked woman, not that he was much interested in the subject).
Follow the subject and you will know in which year the work was executed. Because painting prostitutes was done much later, unless you name was the Damned Caravaggio.
But the Old Masters knew how to work like gods! Some of them, not all.
That’s why we go and stare at fat babies and Mona Lisas. Let’s be honest, Mona Lisa is not really the woman you’d like to hang out with, in today’s iconography she’d be a hair salon worker in a small French town. That’s where she probably lost her eyebrows.
But just like a coiffeuse from a village can be visually unappealing yet an intriguing human being, so are the classical paintings.
There’s so much happening on that small canvas: the layers of colors, mixed and applied in secret methods, the eyes of the subject, the lights that roll the story like a movie, the size of the painting, all that make you listen. Mostly, they make you listen to yourself: emotions and thoughts bouncing inside your soul, in response to what the work of art throws at you.
At the end of the day, it’s just a canvas with some colors on it, nothing more spectacular, in terms of material presence. The work itself though, functions like a micro- and telescope, bringing together the outside with your inside. And the Scientist doing that is called the Artist.
The Museum is the place where we’re lucky to see works otherwise inaccessible, unless you’re a zillionaire who collects and even takes the time to speak with such works of art.
Save for the church works translating to illiterate people the word of the scripture, before the advent of the Museum, the art was made for private eyes: study rooms, salons, boudoirs.
The work was subject to light changes during the day and the season. A good work had continuously something else to reveal; the eyes watching belonged to a person that continuously changed.
That’s why Art was and sometimes is Alive, that’s how I try to savor it.

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The Museum is the Church of the Human aspiring to Evolution

Governments can sponsor wars but not free entry to ALL musea?
Do you pay to enter a church? The Museum is the Church of the Rational, Atheist Human Being, who is a Spiritual Being.
The Museum is his Church and should be accessible at no cost.
Being in the presence of Art your humanity (or lack of it) is illuminated. Religions impose “don’t kill, don’t steal” because an immaginary super power is watching you and will punish you if you do otherwise.
Art gives you the freedom to look inside yourself and decide if you want to kiss or steal. Which, as I was pointing out, speaks of your humanity or lack thereof.
Evolution is either Spiritual or not at all.

Free entry musea in Europe:
London : National Gallery,
British Museum
Tate
Victoria and Albert Museum
Paris:      Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Berlin:    Wall Memorial
Copenhagen: National Museum
Nice:      Musée des Beaux-Arts
Madrid: Prado
Rome:    Museum of Liberation
Reykjavik:  Museum of Photography
Los Angeles: Getty Center
The Broad
Washington DC:  The Smithsonian
New York:   The Metropolitan (free or “pay what you can”)
Huston:  The Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel
Tokyo:    National Art Center
Buenos Aires: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Edinburgh:   Scottish National Gallery
Amsterdam: street pissoirs (or u can just piss in the canals)

contemporary installation creators

What follows is NOT an attack to any person making installations and exposing them in museums! It is only my personal reflection on the subject. If it triggers thoughts in your mind, it means that we somehow interact. As humans should do.

Some present day creators make objects that offer the public an experience.
Since that object cannot be bought (most of times it defies the purpose of inhabiting a private home), it often cannot be exposed anywhere else than a museum. That’s what calls the creator an artist.
S/he often uses materials “new in the art-field”, often needs to collaborate with engineers, technicians, artisans because s/he cannot make that object exist beyond her/his ideas and sketches.
The object often is “justified” and “explained” by art critics and curators as an opportunity to have an unusual experience, provoked thoughts never before provoked.
To all this, I say that a walk in a real forest, alone or with a friend, staring into someone’s eyes, visiting a country, all that and more, can also be an experience, if you cultivate yourself to receive that experience. I only mentioned “natural” experiences, leaving out any other art form.
If any of these installations offer an experience that enters our consciousness by means that no other medium does, then I think it fully justifies its existence.
(I remember a film teacher I used to have who was saying: if you can fully tell your story in writing, better write a book, it’s cheaper. If, on the other hand, your film brings together languages and is more than the component parts, go for the film!)

That is why most “conceptual art” (c.a.) doesnt work for me: In c.a. the main idea is the strongest element, like an opera diva covering the whole choir and orchestra. Once the idea has “shocked/surprised” you, there’s seldom nothing else left to watch or come back to it. Very, very few exceptions!

I have no problem considering the installation creators artists. I do have a problem with the public (often poorly educated and not really with an opinion of their own) who dis-consider the traditional visual arts (drawing, painting, sculpture), voice against them as passe, uninteresting, boring. That, of course, says something about the public’s own capacity of digesting visual arts. More power to the people, the shout of democracy covers the echo of a violin.

There is no moral in my post.
Arts, not just the record of the wars, is what is left to tell the story of our times. You can’t, shouldn’t “force” yourself into loving classical or contemporary art executed in the line developed by tradition. To be honest, you couldn’t force yourself into loving anything.
I do hope present and future arts will first speak to your emotions and not listen to trends. Dont like Warhol because it’s hip to like Warhol. Don’t wear a beard because it’s trendy. Do what makes you happy, because this is your life, not a dress rehearsal. Power doesn’t come from the number of people in the group you’ve joined. That is safety. Safety is needed by weak life.

Pictures under: Capacitor, by John Grade