I hate to prove myself socially and culturally inferior, but I have to admit: I just don't get it. I'm looking at two pieces of 'art' in a weekend newspaper that come with a glowing review from an art critic. Wearing large glasses and an even larger grin, I have to wonder if he's paid a few hundred extra for every superfluous and over-complimentary word.
And let me just say: I really dislike the fact I condescendingly put the word 'art' into inverted commas, but I feel it's a must. If you saw the pictures you may understand. Or, if you're more cultured than I am, perhaps you'd disagree.
The first piece is a smattering of black and white brush strokes, with one random blob of pink in the bottom corner. Keen to see something meaningful, I hold it back a little from my face. If I squint, it looks a bit like a black dog with a broken tail, watching TV. The pink splotch in the bottom right hand corner of the piece could be an abstract dog bowl, or something.
My eyes skip back to the review, proclaiming that "one is struck by the colour, applied in a ragged fashion." I'm pleased we agree on the latter part of that sentence, at least.
I take a closer look at the second piece. It has a white background with a pink and orange chimney-looking thing. In front of the chimney, a purple rectangular-ish shape has some yellow lines through it. On the top left sits a yellow oval, containing a purple and white centre. I think I prefer the twisted dog.
"Uses colour with a freedom Van Gogh might have envied", writes the reviewer. Am I the only one who thinks this is all a little ridiculous? I check the top of the paper to make sure I haven't inadvertently stumbled across a new 'satire' section.
I give up trying to see through the eyes of the reviewer, and start to imagine myself as someone who 'gets it'. I'm in an art gallery with some elitist friends, stroking my invisible beard and pondering the complexities of the two pieces. We'd all agree how "fabulous" they are, and then head to an over-priced bar for drinks. "I've never met a shiraz I didn't like", I'd chuckle.
I'd be fine at playing the game, as long as I checked the art reviews, first.