Would You Call This Painting Art?
This is Vir Heroicus Sublimis by American painter Barnett Newman (1905-1970). It hangs in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. The Latin title of the painting means “Man, heroic and sublime.”
I caught this couple intently studying the museum’s literature on this oil on canvas and thought that it made for an interesting photograph.
When this painting was first exhibited in 1951, Barnett Newman tacked to the wall a notice that read, “There is a tendency to look at large pictures from a distance. The large pictures in this exhibition are intended to be seen from a short distance.” Newman believed deeply in the spiritual potential of abstract art.
There is a great deal of modern art that we appreciate. However, I gotta wonder, do some modern art painters secretly laugh at the gullibility of the art buying public? When I compare this with a Picasso, for example, at least Picasso shows some talent and begs us to look at life a little differently.
Here, I wonder, does Barnett Newman expect us to look at life differently with no clear artistic talent demonstrated? Take a gander at this Google search of his paintings, and you be the judge.
Barnett Newman is seen as one of the major figures in Abstract Expressionism and one of the foremost of the Color Field painters.
Color Field is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favour of an overall consistency of form and process. In color field painting “color is freed from objective context and becomes the subject in itself.” (via Themes in American Art: Abstraction.” National Gallery of Art).
OK. Color is freed from objective context and becomes the subject itself.
I have to admit. I was immediately drawn to this painting when I first saw it. My first thought was, “is this art?” However, as I was drawn into the massive swath of color, I did find myself enjoying the massive display of the color red. But, I also have to admit, I am a freak about bold, saturated color. You’ve probably noticed that in my photography.
So, is this art? For me, I wouldn’t define this as art as my immediate impressions are inclined to do. But, I did enjoy the experience of this “art”.
What say you? Is this art?
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