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Save our children from Modern art

Upon entering a local school a couple of weeks ago, I was happy to see the old trophies in the trophy case replaced with artworks created by second graders.

Upon entering a local school a couple of weeks ago, I was happy to see the old trophies in the trophy case replaced with artworks created by second graders.

Then I noticed that behind each artwork was a little piece of paper titled "Artist's Statement." My heart sank.

Yes, the idiocy of the modern art world has seeped down into the second-grade classrooms of rural Minnesota.

No longer can second graders innocently make art with a sense of play. Now they have to put into English why they made the art and what they were trying to accomplish.

It hurts to think of the evenings kids spent with their confused parents trying to come up with a highfalutin rationale for the paper mache monster mask they had so much fun making.


Artist's statements are for artists who so lack talent that they have to explain to you on a supplemental piece of paper how the pile of crap you are viewing made it into a museum.

A couple of weekends ago, I made a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. On display were several hundred paintings by the Dutch masters.

The most famous Dutch master is Rembrandt. View one of his paintings and you know you are in the presence of greatness. The viewer doesn't need an artist's statement to figure out what the old man was doing.

Rembrandt was technically excellent. He also had a gift for capturing the subtleties of the character of his subjects. But thank goodness he never wrote down what he was trying to accomplish. It would have diminished the beauty of his work.

Then, on to the Guggenheim Museum just up the street. There were enough interesting works in the side rooms to prevent me from seeking a refund, but the main gallery was polluted with absolute trash.

To understand why I paid $18 to see painting after painting of the text of jokes by Lenny Bruce printed on a canvas, I had to read on the card off to the side that the "paradoxically beautiful" paintings, which were several steps below road signs in quality, represented a "seamless retrospective" of Bruce's career.

Without the written commentary, the paintings were unintelligible and worthless. With the commentary, they were slightly more intelligible but still worthless.

Sprinkled between the paintings were blurry photographs of magazine advertisements from the 1970s taken by Richard Prince. If you aren't aware, Prince is a "very important" figure in modern photography.


When art people use the phrase "very important," look out. They're about to pick your pocket. As far as I could tell, Prince has no discernible talent. He just had the brilliance to name his collection "Spiritual America," a title so totally irrelevant to his photos that a committee of rich idiots decided he must be a genius.

Another "important" artist, or con-artist, Jeff Koons, recently saw his stainless steel heart hanging from a cable sell for $25 million. To a museum. That means another committee of rich idiots approved the deal.

Why should anyone care if the rich idiots give their millions to talentless con artists?

It wouldn't matter one bit if they weren't so intent upon ruining art for the rest of us.

There is an innocence to the visual arts, the joy of a second grader exclaiming "that's pretty!" As we age our tastes change, but one hopes that we never lose that sense of wonder, the epiphany of seeing a creative work, which, for reasons we should never have to explain, makes us take a sudden gulp of air in amazement.

It is in that innocent spirit that second graders should make art. Not all of them are adept at words, but some might be brilliant at making sculpture, or drawing, or painting. Let them do their thing.

But to force kids to put into words what their art is supposed to mean is to toss the poor urchins in the same bin as the talentless con artists who fill up museums with gold-plated urinals.

Second graders are much better than that.


Visit Eric's Web site at www.countryscribe.com

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