315. May 20th….Happy Weights and Measures Day….and does anybody know where they’ve hidden the….”Contemporary Modern Art” here in New Mexico….

“Self Portrait #2” 2010

“Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead.”
Aldous Huxley

The Term Provincial used in the Fine Arts context is: “noting or pertaining to the styles of architecture, furniture, etc., found in the provinces, esp. when imitating styles currently or formerly in fashion.”

A trip through the myriad of Albuquerque’s…”Art Galleries”….should be enough to define provinciality at it’s finest….poor Albuquerque…nestled under the shadow of Santa Fe’s highly disputed art community…where a bag of recycled garbage often gets confused with a “fine art installation”…..and here we sit 58 miles to the south….scrambling for the crumbs left by the “real artists” up north…..wondering why “we” don’t have work in the galleries on the illustrious “Canyon Road”…..

Albuquerque’s…..art pulse…..what there is of it….certainly follows the definition of “Provincial”…..to think of “Contemporary Modern Art ” and Albuquerque in the same breath is a pointless endeavor…Albuquerque is the largest city in the state….yet there is no “Contemporary Modern Art Museum”…..there are no galleries displaying contemporary modern art…..there are many galleries professing to show contemporary modern art…but when did landscape….or abstraction or….surrealism….or minimalism or local Hispanic art…or Native American art become contemporary and modern…..art…..it was when it was…. it no longer is…. the Renaissance (1450-1600) produced incredible landscape painters…..Abstratction seems to appear around the end of the 19th century…..Hieronymus Bosch seems to be the guy that sparked surrealism…somewhere in the late 1400’s…and it didn’t really take shape until the 1920’s….1930’s….Minimalism…..energes in the 1950’s…lasts somewhere into the 1970’s….Hispanic art 1500’s in New Mexico…Native art….thousands of years old……what part of anyone of these is CONTEMPORARY ….or ….MODERN ART….????????????????

Back to the local Art Galleries….using the historical context as the bar…it should be clearly obvious that there is nothing remotely close to “Contemporary Modern Art” hanging…standing…stored in the back room….hiding in the closet or anywhere among the local galleries…..these galleries are showing art that is some facsimile of something that has already been done…and done many many times over….maybe a different color….smaller..larger…wider…greener….more blue….darker…lighter…..different story…same story different language…..same strife….different situation…..exotic muse….rebellious political…mind…etc……most of the local galleries are run by people who have no education in the curatorial/museum  concepts of the “How” of a professional gallery and in many cases are artists that decided a gallery would produce a better living than making art….they don’t understand lighting and how best to display certain works…to them everything is “Abstract” if it’s not a landscape or a portrait….combine that with self-proclaimed artists and the mixture…can only produce…..consistent mediocrity…..

So perhaps defining the function of art makes the elusive “Contemporary Modern Art” concept….a bit more attainable…perhaps a bit more out of reach….the function of art is defined by many and as each defines it differently…one of the many aspect of the definition is dependent on you the reader to either agree with the philosophy of the one defining the function or disagree…historical context…politics…religion….philosophy…..all contribute to the definition…..so in essence the function of art is as nebulous as art itself….here are 3 very different  links you can look at and decide what you think…..

Philosophical thought  http://www.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/phil%20of%20art/hume_and_kant.htm

Art Historical http://arthistory.about.com/cs/foreducators/f/functions.htm

Religious  http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12ART.HTM

Peddling art is no different from the carpetbaggers in the South after the civil war…or the snake oil salesman of the American west…..they will sell you exactly what you want…tell you what you’d like to hear….make certain you and the artwork are a DNA match….swipe your credit card….write “Contemporary Modern Art”…on the receipt…as proof…and off you go the proud owner of…………..

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One thought on “315. May 20th….Happy Weights and Measures Day….and does anybody know where they’ve hidden the….”Contemporary Modern Art” here in New Mexico….

  1. I think you’ve heard my rants on “contemporary” ad nauseum. For sure. It’s one of those terms, like “old fashioned,” and “green” that gets thrown, slapped, tossed, and flipped onto anything standing. As does “modern” by the average non-art-historian.

    Love the abstracted self portrait, by the way. Abstract photography is where it’s at.

    Like

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