If you take a look at the picture I have provided you just below this paragraph then what would you say about this example of contemporary art? Painted by an eight-year-old, bland and boring, basic and amateurish? I would say all of those things, but what would you say if I told you that someone paid £53.8m for it?
It’s no joke; somebody broke the record for the highest price ever paid for a piece of contemporary art at auction.
The piece itself was painted by Mark Rothko and is entitled “Orange, Red, Yellow”. And if you look at some of his other work then you will discover that he has made a fortune on the same idea. This is just different shades of colour on a canvas in quite frankly basic and pathetic shapes.
When I want to see art I want to see skill. And that’s what one of the dictionary definitions of art is: “Skilled.” Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso, Cezanne, Botticelli, all of these were skilled at what they did. This is an insult to art and this is precisely why many people believe that contemporary art is utter trash. I’m one of these people and I just hope that whoever paid for this realises how stupid he is.
And I know that fans of this are going to try and put people off with their elitist rhetoric about how some people are too stupid to see the true meaning in it. But you can find meanings in anything if you like, it doesn’t make the item you are taking a meaning from art, though.
Take a stereotypical yellow, number two test pencil, with eraser, and here is my meaning for it:
“This pencil demonstrates the transitioning of the past to the modern day as this tool has been transformed from the creative purposes it was once instilled with to the rigid structuring of modern day life. The point is the crowning glory of what can symbolise the pointlessness of the modern educational system and the stifling of creative thought. And, yet, at the same time, the fact that it creates these feelings is a demonstration of artistic genius in itself.”
I could go on, but it demonstrates that you can see a meaning in even the most mundane things.
I’ve also noticed something else quite interesting as well. If we look back to the past, and I mean centuries prior to this one, the skilled were praised. The skilled were praised in a society that was rather primitive. And those skilled artists of today are still incredibly difficult to replicate in our modern age, without the aid of computers. But as we have advanced throughout the ages we have actually opted for more primitive forms of art; and this is what we call contemporary art.
The only thing that is skilled here is the fact that Mark Rothko managed to convince someone to pay that much for something that was most likely painted within a day.
This is nothing but a few colours splashed on to the page in a childlike manner. As we advance further, are artists just going to debase themselves further in a sad attempt to seem different?
That’s something that has always bothered me about the art industry. They are so desperate to move away from mainstream society that they are willing to damage their own art because of it.
This further enhances my view that contemporary art is based off of nothing but connections and who has the most cash. Granted, to an extent, it was always like this. But no artist can succeed with things like this without having powerful and influential connections and lots of money to do the talking.