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How a Urinal is Art

March 17, 2016

        My mother was asking me to clean my room. I started complaining, saying, “later, it’s my room, I have homework.” Later she came to me and said, “on principle, I want you to clean your room,” and left. I thought about what she had said. What principle? I was thinking, “this is such a small problem. What would it matter if my room is clean or not?” What I didn’t realize is that this is what my mother was telling me; On principle of respecting her wishes, I should do what she says, whether the problem is small or big. It’s funny when life lessons appear in simple issues, and in the end, I cleaned my room. Originally I was going to write this Op-Ed saying how much I disliked modern art. I saw that I only thought that way because I was nit picking at art pieces, rather than seeing the important precedent that modern art sets for the whole art world. Artist Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”, a urinal posed as an art piece, brought up the question, “What constitutes real art and a real artist” ("10 Photos: 10 Works of Art That Shocked the World.") Many people pass off splattered paint on a canvas, or unused urinals as art. There is an argument whether this is right or wrong. Some people say it is wrong because there are other artists who have far more skill, but are put on the backburner. Others say it is right because they claim that this form of art takes a lot of creativity. Modern art is art because it is imaginative, brave, and original.
    Julian Baggini, says that the beauty of modern art is that “No one else came up with the geometric lines and block colours of Mondrian before he did, not because they lacked the skill, but because they lacked the vision.” Modern art is brave and unusual. It is brave because artists will knowingly get a lot of flack for putting it out. They don’t follow the classic credentials that classify artwork. They base their artwork off of creativity and originality. The fact that an unskilled person could replicate said art can not disprove the fact they didn’t originally come up with it.
    In Artist Descending a Staircase Tom Stoppard gives both ends of the spectrum, just as “Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.” Art doesn’t have to be technically good to be art. Having new and interesting ideas is a vital component. If people are willing to praise and appreciate hyperrealistic artists, then they should at least be able to consider modern art art. Just as I watch two completely different singers, Ariana Grande and Freddie Mercury, I’m applauding the notes Ariana Grande can hit while I get goose bumps watching Freddie Mercury perform. Hyper realism is pure technical skill without imagination, while modern art is imagination without technical skill. Whether one attribute is greater than the other would be personal opinion.
We have to have some boundaries in art. Art without boundaries isn’t art anymore. It is nothing. The beauty of art is that there are no boundaries. Many artists don’t directly express this. Modern artists are at an extreme end of the spectrum, breaking all known bounds. The other extreme end is where hyperrealistic artists stand, their art having many rules and boundaries. Art is in fact nothing until an artist or viewer decides to make it into something. A blank canvas has nothing on it until the artist touches it with their paint brush. An artpiece means nothing until a  viewer decides to make something of it.
    Modern art is art. Is it heavily abused as an art form? Yes. Does it require much skill? No. But is it art? Yes. Many modern artists don’t have much skill, but they have a lot of ideas that many others don’t. It takes courage to present these ideas, and they are original for making their art in the first place. Just as my mother gave me a life lesson about cleaning my room, we can all learn a life lesson from modern art. Morally, when there is no better side, we shouldn’t pick and choose who or what we want to be accepting of. On principle of allowing myself to accept hyper realistic art as art, it only makes sense that I also accept the other end of the spectrum: Modern art.  Doesn’t mean I have to like everything, but I definitely shouldn’t be bashful of it.

                                                                                      Works Cited
Baggini, Jullia. "Modern Art: I Could Have Done That... so I Did." Independent. 6 Jan. 2014.
    Web. 17 Mar. 2016
Stoppard, Tom. Artist Descending a Staircase. 1988. Print.
"10 Photos: 10 Works of Art That Shocked the World." CNN. Cable News Network. Turner
    Broadcasting System, Inc., 29 June 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.


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