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Old 02-25-2005, 02:09 PM
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sarahbellum sarahbellum is offline
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Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

Here's what I don't get: a lot of people who by their own admission don't "get" abstract art feel free to insult it and assume that the people who make it do so only because they don't have enough skill to paint "realistically," whatever that means. It sometimes almost seems like the people who hate it think no one should be allowed to make abstract art, or look at it, because they themselves don't "get" it.

Why does it evoke such weird dislike and even anger?? There are a number of artistic styles I don't care for very much. My solution is to just not look at paintings done in them. So why can't people do the same with abstraction?

Sarah
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Old 02-25-2005, 02:18 PM
sherina sherina is offline
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Smile Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

I totally agree with you. Art is so very subjective. I'm like you why does it seem to insult and anger people who don't do what we do. Im not into still life, portraiture, landscapes, etc. That doesn't mean I have to say something nasty, because I'm not particularly drawn to it or because it doesn't evoke any feelings in me. I guess that's why I do what I do and let others do what they do. I don't even bother to try an expain it anymore, I just continue to create. It's what I do it's what God gave me and I'm not going to change or alter it for anyone. LOL!

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Old 02-25-2005, 02:25 PM
JohnA JohnA is offline
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahbellum
Why does it evoke such weird dislike and even anger?? There are a number of artistic styles I don't care for very much. My solution is to just not look at paintings done in them. So why can't people do the same with abstraction?
Because so many abstract artists vehemently reject any standards of quality in their work. This bothers people. An artist in the realist portrait genre does not like to hear that his years of work perfecting the human form are so easily "trumped" by an abstract artist's first work.

Abstract artists who do accept and work for years toward a high standard are very broadly respected, though of course not by everyone.(who is?)

I am not making a case here for or against any standard, just giving my best estimation of why abstract art is so often despised.

Last edited by JohnA : 02-25-2005 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 02-25-2005, 02:56 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

Some good questions.

My basic answer would be: Most people, by their very nature, have always been afraid of what they do not understand, identify with, and/or comprehend. It takes a lot of effort to try and truly understand something "new" to oneself. To try and absorb new ways of looking at life and thus the making of art is not as easy as some might think. It's much much easier to simply dismiss the actual "merit" of a thing, than to wrap your arms around it and delve into it.

So for whatever the reasons, i would say "fear" above all else.

Hopefully our evolution as open-minded beings of Earth in the stars is still a work in progress.

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Old 02-25-2005, 03:28 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

Do ya suppose that it's because abstract art is not as easy to judge? With realistic painting you can look at the picture and then look at the subject and get a sense of how well the artist pulled it off. Can't do that with abstract. It requires a response from the viewer.... and the viewer is then confronted with what if THEY aren't good enough to "see" the picture or whatever. Seems like a lot of ppl want to go the easy way and be told what is good or bad... and when they don't have that they get uncomfortable and a typical response to discomfort is anger/hatred..... a way of pushing away the confrontation rather than facing it. Seems to me that most ppl don't like having the ball in their court and that's one of the things abstract does... put it in the hands of the viewer.
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Old 02-25-2005, 03:36 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

Some folks think literally. Others have the knack for more flexible thought. One isn't necessarily better than the other. It just is. I played pool once with an engineer. My approach was to aim and pray. His was to calculate angles and trajectory. I told him to use his imagination. His response: "I have no imagination. I see things for what they are, not for what they might be."

Having said that, I think that some traditionalist (not all, of course) -- in whatever genre -- believe that abstract is arbitrary and, excuse me, fast and easy. That it doesn't require training or skill. It's just all over the place. Usually, these same folks take a shot at it and find it ain't all that simple, particularly for a mind that's geared toward "see it, paint it."

It's interesting to look at the early works of the abstract gurus -- Rothko, Picasso, so many others -- whose early works are more classically oriented. Picasso, particularly, is a true joy to track from his sketches as a child through the various stages of his morphing. It all makes sense.

Oh hell. Here I am in another thread...
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Old 02-25-2005, 03:55 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

I agree with whats being said here but more especially with peaced.
I once showed my drawings (which were of a more realist nature) and my paintings to someone and they said they preferred the drawings because they could SEE the effort I had put in. They even emphasized the word 'see'.
It was probably true, there was more effort but it gives me an idea of what people want , they want to see effort and skill.
Also , like Peaced , people think that they should have to be educated in order to understand abstract and rally against it , dismissing it not wanting to take part in any pretentious ideas about art. But of course no education is needed all the faculties anyone needs they already have. Just let yourself open to it rather than judge quality by any certain criteria, which I suppose can be quite scary.

Matt
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:00 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

I'm not an abstract appreciator... I'm one of those who
doesn't "get it"... Which is why I never comment on any
of it... I know I don't understand it because I see nothing
to understand. So I just stay away.

Jo in Georgia
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:02 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

I agree with what all is said. Abstract by its nature is a unique (artistwise) and new (viewerwise) "visual language" that requires more effort on the viewer's part than they typically deal with regarding representational paintings. What you'll find is the more you expose a non-believer to your visual language, the more they'll get it...at least thats the way I am, and my family, and my friends. So keep getting it out there and maybe more of the masses will start to get it.
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:26 PM
JohnA JohnA is offline
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

I don't think abstract is considered scary or intimidating to anyone. You can go into any Shopping Mall poster shop and see The Kiss or Farbstudie Quadrate hanging right there in the "best seller" isle. Abstract has become just another genre like landscape or portraiture. Some don't "get" it, but I don't get why someone else might want to hang a stuffed fish on his wall. I'm certainly not scared or intimidated by a stuffed fish.

Sorry, guys, the revolution's over. It's quickie-art, not nonrepresentational forms, which offend. Many do not want to accept that "nothing equals something", because this philosophy requires the opposite also be true.

Last edited by JohnA : 02-25-2005 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:29 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnA
I don't think abstract is considered scary or intimidating by anyone.
You've obviously never met my Grandmother on my father's side.

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Old 02-25-2005, 04:34 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

I think that it really is the fact that abstract art requires a response from the viewer over and above and beyond the obvious "Does it look real.......".

I struggle to understand abstract art, but am often very affected by some of the art posted here.

To me, it resembles interpreting clouds, wind, water, dreams, nightmares, things you can't put into words but perhaps can express through art. Abstract art is very subjective both for the artist and the viewer.

Does that make sense to anyone?

Mary
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Last edited by Maryem : 02-25-2005 at 04:37 PM. Reason: spelling!
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:41 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

I didn't say the artwork itself was scary (wheres the emote icon to convey my facial expression , not one , bah )
I just meant letting go of any preconceived ideas of quality might be to some.

Matt
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:56 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

Untrained person replying here... It seems to me the word "abstract" covers a huge variety of work, first. There are many subcategories, much more so than with portraits, or landscapes, or other, um, subject matter (does abstract art have a subject matter? That's not a dig, it's a question -- I don't know!)

I really, really enjoy some abstract art; I am almost totally indifferent to other abstract art, and I dislike (but am not threatened by) other abstract art.

In general, there are whole categories of abstract art to which I am completely indifferent -- geometric things (like rectangles of different colors), Pollock-type things (which, to me, appear to be totally chaotic in form), etc.

The categories which contain some works I really enjoy appear, to me, to be regulated (although at a high level of abstraction -- sorry!) by rules of composition and color similar to (possibly identical to?) those which are frequently applicable to other, non-abstract works. In particular, I like works with colorful 'organic' (rather than geometric) forms, not 'too many' unrelated shapes, and that evoke in me an almost tactile response to form/line. In addition I like the shapes to be (or seem) related to one another in space (maybe another reason I don't like Pollock?).

I dislike art (abstract or not) which is 'ugly' -- color combinations which set my teeth on edge or are 'muddy,' contain 'too much' violent 'movement' (sorry, don't know how to express that in proper artist-speak -- Guernica has quite a lot of it... is that work abstract, btw? It is representational, certainly, does that disqualify it as an abstract?)

I haven't met any people who "hate" abstract art, but I have met many who are indifferent to it, and angry that the museum (where I tended to run into or overhear them!) paid a lot of money for these works! Maybe there's a fairness issue (some artists -- maybe meaning the speaker or speaker's friends? -- study for years and work very hard and their work is very accurate, and then these so-called artists...)? You get the drift.

In fact, I myself was similarly annoyed during my first couple years in NYC, one time, when visiting MOMA during one show that featured (no joke) a completely blank, framed, canvas. This was supposedly a reference to the fact that there is always a painting surface, or something equally puerile. When Tom Wolfe wrote his little book about art that 'wouldn't exist' without the words about it, this "piece" came to mind immediately.

But, again, I do really like other abstract art. Hope this clarifies something for someone....
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:59 PM
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Re: Why do a lot of people hate abstract art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnA
Because so many abstract artists vehemently reject any standards of quality in their work. This bothers people. An artist in the realist portrait genre does not like to hear that his years of work perfecting the human form are so easily "trumped" by an abstract artist's first work.

Abstract artists who do accept and work for years toward a high standard are very broadly respected, though of course not by everyone.(who is?)

I am not making a case here for or against any standard, just giving my best estimation of why abstract art is so often despised.
I am glad you brought this up as I want to learn. Only recently have started doing abstracts and, frankly, never have been happier creating. That being said, I struggle with the statement "work for years toward a high standard" With realism, I can plainly see what the "standard" is... but with abstract, I am confused. I know what I like but is that enough... what is this mysterious (to me) "standard"

Thanks,

Dee
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