Friday, November 14, 2008

A Tribute to Jackson Pollock....Not

Disclaimer: This is a very personal opinion, and if you're a person who enjoys screaming and paint splattering, I hope you are not offended. Also, I am not judging you. Maybe someday you could explain to me the meaning you find in these things I discuss.

I don't consider myself an expert on music, by any means, and I am not really picky about it - I appreciate and enjoy most genres. However, I do have my favorites and my not-so-favorites. Then there is the music that I just don't understand at all. The kind I'm referring to is the start out screaming and scream until you have no voice left and no one understood a word you said but it must have been deep and insightful and brought out all the hurt of your childhood because you screamed it, and everything carries so much emotion when it's thrust from your throat with a raspy push music. Now, I realize there was a lot of opinion packed in that last description, but it's my blog. Feel free to comment, or start your own blog if you disagree. I don't hold this opinion across the board, though. There are a few songs in which I actually think screaming is effective. For example in Showbread's song "Age of Reptiles," at the end they sing "the truth is only You" over and over until it crescendos into a scream. I think this is effective. At this point of the song though, I know what the meaning is because I know what the lyrics are. I know where the artist is coming from, and the message they are trying to get across. Granted, there are some songs I still don't understand even when I can hear all the lyrics clear as a bell. But there is something to be said for thinking about a song after you hear it, and trying to figure out what certain lyrics mean - in fact, that might be what I like most about some of my favorite songs, the fact that I think about them and find different meanings hidden each time I listen to them. That's much different than being screamed at, though.

Maybe this same inability to decipher and appreciate screaming in music has something to do with my dislike of some modern art. I like modern art, and to prove it, here are some paintings I've seen lately that I like:

Tokyo Suburbs by Joe Bachelor

I don't know the title of this one, but it's by Richard Silva

If You Listen by Gail Lapins

Mid Summer Night by Lorna Teixeira

Wooden Room by Anselm Keiffer

Self Portrait by Chuck Close
Untitled by Lee Bontecou

However, I fail to see the talent in a painting like this, by Jackson Pollock.

Or paintings like this Who's Afraid of Red by Barnett Newman:

There may be deep meaning behind it, but that doesn't mean a 5 year old couldn't paint the same picture. There's no substance for me to interpret in the splattering. To me, that picture is a visualization of the sound of screaming in music, and I don't get it.


Randall said...

I've never much liked the splattering ones. It reminds me of 80's wallpaper. I do like the red one by Barnett Newman though. Maybe its just because I have a degree in math. The size and colors of the rectangles is just pleasing to me.

Karen said...

I like the Barnett Newman one better than Jackson Pollock, too... but I don't know, it's just like, red with a few lines. Symmetrical and mathematical, yeah, but artistic, well I'm not sure.