Thursday, May 26, 2016

Highlight of My Day

From Marina Abramovic's A Minute of Silence to Millie Brown's puke, I have a hard time looking at modern art without rolling my eyes. Perhaps it takes talent to weave nothingness into a message, but I think it's far more likely today's outsider artists are simply laughing all the way to the bank. If that's the case, I have to applaud them. They know the game and how to play it.

Art critics on the other hand, and more specifically amateur aficionados, are amongst some of the most smugly arrogant out there. "Those who can't do...," right? Standing in front of a blue canvas for hours speculating on its meaning, ignoring the fact that regardless of the artist's creative inspiration for their field of blue, the artist has crafted nothing from those ideas. 

I likely share the frustration that asks, "Why didn't I think of that first?" But what I wish I'd thought of was the prank that humiliated dozens on Monday at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Seventeen year old TJ Khayatan proved himself more clever than those doting over the exhibit's drab installations by installing an impromptu one of his own. Discretely leaving a pair of glasses a few inches from the wall, it wasn't long before a crowd of guests surrounded his "work of art" in deep discussion, even taking photographs. 

The Museum was quick to respond with its own artistic interpretation, "Do we have a Marcel Duchamp in our midst?" The clever response was in reference to Duchamp, an early 20th Century "anti-artist" who created Fountain, a urinal turned on its side brandishing his signature and the date, 1917. The San Francisco Museum's response was incredibly apt. Although much has been written about Duchamp's Fountain, his message was simply a reflection of the art of his time and its community, just like Khatayan's prank. 

Time will tell if Khatayan's jab at contemporary art will find its way into the annals of history. Like Duchamp's Fountain, I'm not sure Khatayan wants it to. But then again, if those glasses wind up fetching $200,000 on eBay, isn't modern art about laughing all the way to the bank?

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