The student news site of Day Creek Intermediate School

The Day Creek Howl

The student news site of Day Creek Intermediate School

The Day Creek Howl

The student news site of Day Creek Intermediate School

The Day Creek Howl


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I Could Paint That

This could be modern art in a museum.
Sydney N.
This could be modern art in a museum.

Two large blue canvases. A banana duct-taped to the wall. Millions of dollars. It seems like what we consider “art” nowadays is junk. Seriously?! $15 million for some red scribbles? 

“It’s just really simple, and people think they could do it. And they probably can. I feel like it also has lots of colors and it makes it sometimes not appear as pretty as some of the other paintings,” said Addy K.

So, why are art pieces that consist of nothing more than a couple of lines sold for so much green? Apparently, it ‘represents’ something. But is that simply an excuse for a cash grab? What would stop me from claiming that my kindergarten Crayola scribbles are a metaphor for capitalism? 

“I think the meaning is the only reason it has value. I think some people could look at a really beautiful painting or thing. It’s once they hear the meaning of it from the artist’s point of view or they give it their own meaning, then it increases the value, depending on the person,” said Ms. Gonzales, a 6th grade teacher with a degree in art history. 

Though there’s value in the meaning, it’s difficult to deny that these paintings just aren’t aesthetically appealing. Compared to Monet’s gardens or Degas’ lifelike ballerinas, a few bold splotches look out of place.  

“I think modern art is really basic. Like, it’ll just be a singular color in a box on a canvas. I don’t think a lot of people will see the meaning behind that. It’s useless because a lot of people can’t see the hidden meaning,” said Asia C., web designer for the Day Creek Howl. 

The truth is, this paint-splatter genre of modern art isn’t really modern. Most of what is classified as “modern art” is actually contemporary art. 

“Well, modern art is more early 1900s. Modern art is the first shift, and contemporary art is today today – so 2000’s on,” said Ms. Gonzales.

Contemporary, modern… tomato tumahto. Either way, it’s generally unloved by netizens. It’s trendy to hate on modern art. For instance, it has become a trend to stand next to paintings in museums that you think you could do yourself. This fad has even surpassed paintings as participants of the trend have begun to stand next to sculptures too. Modern art pieces such as Can’t Help Myself, by artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, have become the butt of jokes.

“When people think of art, they think of the art from the Renaissance…not modern art,” said Addy K.

But calling contemporary art ugly may be unreasonable. Many realism artists continue to paint today, and their work can be found in museums across the globe. 

“The stereotype of modern art is that it’s very minimalistic. And I feel like there’s many pieces that could take a lot of time compared to the other pieces. I think it’s disrespectful to the artists who took a lot of time,” said Asia C.

While contemporary art may not be pretty, maybe it’s because it doesn’t want to be. 

Our local J. Paul Getty Museum states it nicely: “When engaging with contemporary art, viewers are challenged to set aside questions such as, ‘Is a work of art good?’ or ‘Is the work aesthetically pleasing?’ Instead, viewers consider whether art is ‘challenging’ or ‘interesting.’ Contemporary artists may question traditional ideas of how art is defined, what constitutes art, and how art is made, while creating a dialogue with—and in some cases rejecting—the styles and movements that came before them.”

So yes, you can do that. But why didn’t you?

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