Yesterday (I’m writing this on September 1st, you’ll likely se it later), I responded to a tweet about Picasso’s African influences in which I said that people who ignore the African roots of some of what the great Spaniard did was due mainly to ignorance as opposed to a willful attempt to erase it.
That kind of stuck in my head. For most of my life, I enjoyed art as a reasonably educated layman might. I was aware of the more popular painters, enjoyed art museums, and even knew the difference between a Flemish Grand Master and an Impressionist (albeit I confused these with the Post-Impressionists). I even had a weird preference for Den Bosch and Bruegel.
I wasn’t exactly ignorant… but I would have been one of those who didn’t know about the African roots of Picasso’s work.
And yet, as the readers of this blog know, I often discuss art here. And I make no excuses. How come?
A funny thing happened. I married a graphic designer.
Suddenly, I was getting dragged into the parts of museums I only glanced at in a cursory way before. The abstract painters. Calder. Kandinsky.
I’ll admit that I still find figurative art much more attractive than abstract art… and (horror of horrors) I’ll spend a long time in museums staring at technically wonderful but artistically superseded pastoral landscapes (is there anything more peaceful than a good idyll?). The difference is that I can now identify a Calder mobile from a hundred feet away, and I know what Dürer did.
And I can identify Picasso’s roots, and argue that Cézanne was the father of cubism. A true art fan would tear me a new one, of course (I’d get my revenge in the subsequent discussion of literature), but at least he would take the time to do so, and not consider me beneath notice.
Hell, I can even identify Bauhaus design…
Who’da thunk it?
I suppose that the whole point of this is to say that the art world can be quite intimidating to outsiders, but if I can get a deeper understanding, so can anyone.
In the meantime, I’ll let the experts speak of the deeper meaning of things.
Gustavo Bondoni is a novelist and short story writer whose work spans not only several lengths but numerous genres, too. His latest novel is a survival horror adventure book entitled Jungle Lab Terror which deals with advances in genetic engineering which, though seemingly fantastic, are happening today. You can check it out here.