This is art?

Some of you know about my kickstarter project for the Church Museum International Competition:

So you can understand why I was interested in this

: A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the BYU Museum of Art and see their exhibit “Work to Do,” an exhibition that “investigates questions surrounding women’s work, the complex roles in which women engage on a daily basis and the unique ways each artist navigates the gender politics of the Beehive State.”  I listened to a panel discussion that occurred near the end of the exhibition’s run with the four female artists whose work comprised the exhibit:

Read the rest here.

This was the picture that accompanied the post:

1I thought it was just a tiny thumbnail of a whole picture (because, honestly, what IS this a picture of???), but when I clicked on the link, that was the picture.  The WHOLE picture.  And that wasn’t the only picture there.  Go ahead and click on the link and see the other exhibits and you’ll wonder if you’ve slipped into Peter Jackson’s trash can after he shot “Shelob’s Lair.”

Being an artist myself, I was disappointed to see that this art, sponsored by and on behalf of ‘women,’ is as completely unrelatable to the topic (without twisting your mind inside out to try and make something more of the work than what it actually is: A big ole mess) as the vagina art at the MET was (and is).

Is this really what passes at BYU–BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY–as art?  How would someone, 5 thousand years from now, going through relics, be able to relate this art to the subject of the exhibit? Would they even recognize it as ‘art’ at all or as something that accidentally got thrown together?

Art used to mean something to everyone.  People without a degree knew what a Venus DiMilo was.  They knew Athena.  They knew the virtues they were expected to uphold because the art they saw everyday showed it to them.

We are supposed to relate to these pieces of work?  How?  In what way would it connect us to the virtues it was trying to portray?  It can’t help us relate to these virtues because it does not portray anything a viewer can relate to. Is it any wonder that our culture is a mess when our art is just a big ole mess too?

There are places where art still means as much to the viewers as it does to the artist–places where they are trying to renew the classical values meant to inspire and uplift, not confuse and obfuscate.  Here are a few: – read their mission statement HERE — find and support the art you relate to

If you know of more, please link them in a reply below.


Edited to add:

At least the art above isn’t created with Fly Vomit.

5 thoughts on “This is art?

  1. It’s too bad you didn’t research a little bit about how this particular artist created these photographic images before lamblasting them; the idea behind her work is brilliant and puts the end product into a much more interesting and moving perspective. No, this is not classic Venus de Milo artwork, but that doesn’t make it universal “trash.” There are millions of artistic images–painting, sculpture, literature, whatever–in every culture in the entire world. Not all artwork is immediately recognizable by title and artist, or even recognizable as “art,” nor is it necessary for all art work to be viewed or rated the same. Isn’t that what makes art so great? Not everyone has the same reactions to every piece, we all have our own perspectives and opinions.

    1. Everyone doesn’t have the same reaction, true– just as all people don’t have the same reaction to a book. But if you ‘have to read the idea behind the work’ then your art is not for viewers (or readers), but for insiders. There is obviously a place for art for insiders, and the Museum at BYU must be the place for it. But art for viewers shouldn’t require them to read a textbook or pamphlet to understand what they are looking at.

      1. I don’t agree, and that’s fine. I think there is a lot more we can learn about any given art piece by studying the artist, their ideas, their processes, and their perspectives. Take the classic Mona Lisa, don’t you think millions of people around the world would like to know more about who she is, why da Vinci painted her, and what she is smiling about? It’s not the only way to appreciate the painting, but certainly that kind of information would bring a completely new and fascinating level of understanding.

      2. You interest people in art through more art, generally, not through more words.There’s a reason the museum bookstore has more books full of pictures than books full of words, (IMO, of course) and there’s a reason the museum bookstore comes at the END of your tour and not at the beginning.

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