You know when you’re a kid, and certain foods, say, tomatoes and onions, taste really weird, but for some reason when you grow up they become some of the most delicious foods you’ve ever eaten? Like, the kind of good where EVERY sandwich you consume better have a tomato and onions on it, or else? Well, that’s kind of how my relationship with non-objective/modern art has been. Not really in the way that I like eating it now (word around town is that acrylic paint is especially high in calories), but that my artistic taste has changed.
When I first started college as a Spanish major with one drawing class, I didn’t really have much of a ‘taste’ in any kind of art. I knew what pretty much anybody else in the world knew. I knew Caravaggio was a genius—talk about using your lights and darks. I knew that ancient Greek sculptures were highly intricate and breathtakingly beautiful. I knew that it was weird that the Mona Lisa was smiling (you know, the ‘fun’ fact of every elementary school art class). But what I didn’t know was that the non-objective/modern art that looks so simple is actually quite complex.
Turns out it only takes a couple of hours in Painting I class to realize how complex painting is. You really start to notice that any colors just splattered on the canvas will certainly not result in a masterpiece. But realizing how complex painting is doesn’t exactly make you appreciate different styles of art. You have to immerse yourself in modern art. You have to look at page after page after page of modern art paintings created by geniuses.
I was introduced to Willem de Kooning by one of my professors. Yes, I was introduced to deKooning when I was the ripe old age of 19. Remember, I came in as a Spanish major-give me a break. Anyways, something about his work really got through to me. I knew that even though I couldn’t see it at the moment, his works were somehow brilliant. And even though I didn’t love de Kooning’s work at first, I didn’t hate it, which was a pretty big step for me, modern art-wise.
So that is why my cover photo is Willem de Kooning’s Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point. Because this is the first modern painting that I knew must be brilliant, without my needing to understand why.
And ‘not needing to understand why’ is the first step to changing your taste.
Featured image: Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point by Willem de Kooning © 1963 Oil on canvas. http://www.dekooning.org/the-artist/artworks/paintings/rosy-fingered-dawn-at-louse-point-1963_1963#64