Modern Art Is Beautiful In Its Own Way

A White Painting Deserves To Hang In A Museum Exhibit With Other Artwork

If a simple block of white made you feel, realize, interpret or react, then it seems that it has accomplished its goal as art.


Have you ever seen an all-white painting in a museum and wondered, "How is that art?"

You're not alone.

I've been to a few art museums, and in every one, I've stumbled across a painting that I couldn't interpret. Canvases that seemed blank, maybe with a single color splashed across them, sometimes with a few lines, a little dot here and there or perhaps a triangle. I never really understood why those were worthy to be in a museum with the Warhols, the Rembrandts, the Michelangelos and the DaVincis.

This summer, I went to the Art Institute Of Chicago with the same problem. I toured the paperweights, the photographs, the sculptures, the textiles, the landscapes and the portraits, appreciating the amount of skill that went into each. But when I got to the contemporary art exhibit filled with solid canvases of blue, I thought the same four words everyone has when they look at giant square in front of them.

"I could've done that."

It's so easy to be dismissive of something that doesn't inspire awe at first sight. Something that seems quite unassuming or boring as your bedroom walls. Something that seems still in comparison to the bold, expressive strokes of other art forms. Something that seems almost devoid of emotion.

But as I went deeper into the seemingly endless exhibit, trying to find out what the artists were trying to convey, I began to realize that there was something in minimalist paintings, an idea that we often miss. And I arrived at a conclusion so simple yet so complicated because it took an entire train of thought to get there.

We usually think art should be beautiful, meaningful and expressive with an added "wow" factor. Something that demonstrates amazing technique and skill. And thus, the hidden meaning in minimalist art is hidden because of what we believe art should be. I was so preoccupied trying to find a secret message that I couldn't accept that a neat pattern could just be pretty.

I began to realize that perhaps there was no significance or emotion in the squares the artists were painting. Maybe art didn't have to contain political messages or expressions of some kind. These artists were making art not to release their inner turmoil but for the sake of making an object of beauty. Art didn't have to be about emotion or skill; maybe it could just be about creating something orderly, pretty, simple and revolutionary that challenges all of these assumptions we have about what art should be.

There doesn't have to be a hidden meaning in every blue square. Perhaps the only hidden meaning there was in those pieces of art were to enjoy the painting as it is. As Vox explains, "These minimalists presented art not as an imitation of reality but as an object unto itself." They rejected the idea of art representing the thoughts and desires of individuals, instead detaching themselves from their work while promoting it for its innate aesthetic and its unique interpretation of art. And I don't know about you, but I find that pretty cool.

So going back to the statement, "I could've done it," maybe you could've.

But sometimes, art may not be as much about the skill as much as it is about the creativity, the idea or design around it. Looking at a minimalist painting, it may appear pretty easy to recreate. It seems like all you need is to grab a tube of paint, spread it on a canvas and call it art. However, did you have the creativity or the imagination to create an original piece that challenged the current standards of art and pioneered a new direction for it, being the first of its kind? I'm going to take that as a no.

I recently found a video that complains about modern art, including the minimalist paintings of today. Unfortunately, it's not the only video of its kind. Across the internet, you will find men complaining about this stuff. There are so many rants and genuinely pissed off people that it eventually gets comical after a while.

And what I've found is that all of them believe art has a fixed definition. That anything straying outside that box of realism and skill is not considered art. That art should build upon the path of its predecessors and improve its quality as the generations go on.

However, they all fail to recognize that art is something that broadly encompasses a whole set of things that is forever changing. Art can be traditional, but it sure as hell can be something completely different. Something that challenges our expectations and shocks us is essential in allowing art to be what people use to express their creativity, originality and individuality. When the person in the video says, "Many of today's artists merely use their art to make statements," he makes it sound like a bad thing. He gives the words "new," "different" and "ugly" negative connotations. Art is a statement of a person. There is nothing wrong with that.

He also brings up a compelling argument about the beauty of art. With the introduction of modern art, he says there is no way to measure which paintings have worth and which have value. Suddenly, a painting someone spent 10 years making could be compared and held to the same degree of reverence as a white block. He argues that traditional paintings are objectively much better than modern art because of the elaborate skill and beautiful detail that goes into it compared to a simple canvas with a line through.

And it is true. A real-life portrait of Jesus is obviously going to be more alluring than a blob of paint. It's going to require much more skill and be much more pleasing to the eye. It's going to be objectively better in terms of looks. But what the person misses is that modern art is not about pleasing everyone or demonstrating skill. Rather, it is making a statement and challenging what we hold to be the norms. Modern art cannot be judged based on skill but on ingenuity. Comparing all art using a scale to objectively measure which is better is not only flawed but completely unfair. Just because traditional art is beautiful does not mean it is better a white painting. Just because modern art is more creative does not mean it is better than a landscape. Each side of art has its own way to measure and compare quality. It would be absolutely foolish to establish a universal criteria to evaluate which one is "better."

The world would be such a boring place if the only thing in museums were landscapes of ships and meadows, if everyone painted within the constructs of what they were told to. We need something outrageous sometimes — even though we may not understand it — to keep our minds open and to intrigue us. Whether you feel anger at a white painting or appreciation, it inspires emotion and controversy in you. And in a sense isn't that a goal of art? To make us feel something? If a simple block of white made you feel, realize, interpret or react, then it seems that it has accomplished its goal as art.

The point is, whether it be a minimalist painting or "The Last Supper," all forms of art have some merit, none of which are better or more valid than the other. And I will defend them all in the face of dismissive and ignorant comments of those who claim that it is not.

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Summer In College Is For More Than Just Working

No, you're never to hold to have fun in the summer.


There should never be an age where you stop having fun in the summer. The weather is nice, there are always things to do, and everyone is just naturally happier. So, regardless of whether you're 7 or 21, I'm talking to you.

During the year it can be hard to find a routine unless you are a very put together person. Sadly, I am not. Even when I tell myself I'm going to eat healthily, work out, and stop procrastinating, I usually don't follow through with that. At school, I find myself in somewhat of a constant catch-up mode. When I feel like I'm ahead on my homework or studying, that usually means I'm behind on being healthy in other aspects of my life. That is why I love summer. It's a chance to reset the clock for a second and catch your breath.

I get that having an internship or working is important for your post-graduation life, but having fun is important for your college years too. When you get a job in the real world, summer is going to look a lot different for you. That is why it's best to take advantage of the time now. This doesn't mean turning down that work experience, it means doing things other than just working.

First things first is finding a hobby you enjoy that you don't do at school. Pick it up for a little over the summer. Why not? For me, this is yoga. For whatever reason, I find myself too nervous to attend yoga classes at school. I have absolutely no reason to be anxious about doing something I like, but I am so I take the time to attend a few classes a week in the summer.

Secondly, try reading. Before you make that look of disgust on your face, think about the last time you read a book of your choosing. If it was recently, then kudos to you for managing your time well enough to do that. If you are not that person, then hello! I am talking to you. I am not a fan of reading because I usually associate it with homework. However, I find that when I have the time to browse the book section of a store for a few seconds, I find multiple books that jump out at me. During the summer I take the opportunity to read a little here and there. The nice part of leisure reading over school reading is that there's no deadline. You can read what you want when you want to.

Finally, learn something new. Again I usually associate learning with things that I am required to learn for my major. Learning something new that interests you is a different kind of rush. When I'm bored in class, I make bucket lists of little things I want to learn about. They can be big or small. One time I wanted to learn how to knit. Don't ask me why my 19-year-old self thought it would be sweet to sit on my porch in the summer knitting, but I did, and I'm kind of sad I didn't pursue that interest. When might I ever have time to learn how to knit again?

These might sound like quirky things to do, but you're young. Make a bucket list and try to cross one thing off each weekend. If you're like me, then you're a little scared of growing up. Scared you won't be able to accomplish all the things you want to. But, the fact of the matter is no one is going to make you accomplish them but you. So, take some initiative and do them. Summer is for more than just working; it's time to live a little and reset the clock.

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The Movie Watchers

The Types Of People That Watch Movies


This past weekend I saw the movie of the life time, Avengers Endgame. It was the culmination of 10 years in the making and no there will not be any spoilers in this piece of writing. I however noticed the same trends that occurred each time I went to the movies. The I saw the same people, however they were just in different bodily forms. When my eyes were not glued to the screen out of sheer anxiety and thrill, I managed to catch a quick glance at the type of people that plague our good theaters.

To start off, there are always those people that are good people and don't disturb the movie experiences of others. These are the quiet people, the ones who keep their eyes on the movie and focus on nothing else. These are the people we should all aspire to be, with their bloodshot eyes from not blinking as to not miss a single moment of the movie. While I am not always the Eyes Glued To The Screen movie watcher, I can say with assurance that I am a somewhat follower of this rule. I think everyone should learn from these people.

Next comes the traditional On My Phone Like A Idiot in the movie movie watcher. This is by far the most annoying of all the people that come to a movie. Like I came to be entertained and I paid good money for this, I didn't pay 14 dollars and 31 cents to hear some girl gossip on her phone to her friend about how her boyfriend didn't bring her flowers or some middle aged man attempt to close a business deal while his kids were watching the movie. Either leave your business at home or for the courtesy of others, at least leave it outside the theater. No one brings me more anger than these people just because they don't know any common courtesy or manners.

If your at the movie, you might get hungry or thirsty so its normal for people to bring in some food, most typically being popcorn. This is fine and all but don't chew so loudly that it sounds like Jurassic Park to the person next to you. Or don't sip up your drink in such a way that it makes the people around you wonder how your mother raised you. I call this person, the Slurper. Just, be chill and watch the movie. At least your not like the On My Phone Like An Idiot where you're an inconvenience to the whole theater.

Movies are a great way to get distracted from the horrors that are our personal lives. They are solace for some people, giving us a place to escape from reality. So please, don't disturb the kind movie goers who just need a break from that relentless school, job, or even family. Just give them their peace. So sit down, turn off your cellphone, and enjoy the movie.

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