I grew up believing that art is something beautiful and something that not everyone could create. And then of course I was exposed to 'modern art' which could be anything. A piece of soap on a hook, for example. Or dog poo in a box. It doesn't matter that it is certainly not beautiful and that just about any human being could create it (with some help from a dog). What matters is the 'back story'. You need a back story - a full explanation of what your art is supposed to symbolise. Basically the main goal of modern art (and by that I mean mostly conceptual art) is to symbolise something. It could be anything but themes related to the state of society in 21st century are of course preferred, so if you can find something to symbolise loneliness of people in big cities, isolation, consumptionism, McDonald's, you have a winner.
Here is a perfect example of modern art:
A few months ago, a Chinese artist Ai Weiwei created an installation in Tate Modern that consisted of one hundred million porcelain sunflower seeds. Now, of course, this is 21st century and things are done differently these days, so he (like everybody else) outsourced his artmaking and had 1,600 Chinese artisans hand paint the sunflower seeds.
People were invited to roll around in Ai Weiwei's sunflower seeds while contemplating "the essence of his comment on mass consumption, Chinese industry, famine and collective work" (courtesy of Wikipedia).
It looked like this:
So yes, " mass consumption, Chinese industry, famine and collective work". However, in true spirit of postmodernism, I shall give it my own meaning. And what I think about this installation is this: "Oh my God, is this cool or what?" I don't know about you, but I am one of those people who like to stick their hands in that sort of thing, be it a bag or rice, lentils, beans or one hundred million hand painted porcelain sunflower seeds. By the powers granted to me by postmodernism I proclaim that the purpose of this installation is to allow me to give in to my fetishes. I suppose it means that it symbolises temptation.
Curiously, the visitors were soon banned from rolling around in sunflower seeds due to health hazards, which is in line with my 'temptation' interpretation.
The reason I remembered Ai Weiwei is that I read that his studio in Shanghai was demolished . Apparently, he didn't have all necessary construction permits, but we all know what that means. He should have stuck to making 'pretty things'.
Now, if you are interested in China and you'd rather read something serious and informative written by people who know what they are talking about, read this.
Also, if you think this whole post made little sense, I assure you it is nothing compared to some examples modern art.
Please list your favourite works of modern art in the comments section.
I completely forgot cross-blog self promotion. Now, if you want to see some hideous modern art made by yours truly go to Now I will be an artist