One the many highlights in Switzerland of course was attending the Picasso exhibit in the Kunsthaus Zürich. This collection was originally shown in 1932 at a unique and crucial moment in the history of modern art. Pablo Picasso himself selected the pieces at the time and this made this particular show even more special. There were canvases from his blue and pink period, cubist pieces, works from his “urban” classical period, encounters with surrealism and a series of portraits. These pieces came together once again after being all over the world for over 70 years. It was quite amazing to see the original pieces hanging there and we quickly realized that reproduced art is just not the same. A printing press never can duplicate what a paint brush, lead by a human hand can do.
After we admired this once in a lifetime exhibit we decided to go to the modern art wing of the Kunsthaus. That is where I started to ask what exactly is art? Patiently Caroline tried to explain to me that art is differently perceived by everyone. It is in the eyes of the beholder. Some like classical art, others like to push the envelope and some just want to say that they own a very expensive piece that currently is exhibited at a museum. Many people that deal and are into the arts scene apear to be from a different planet with a higher understanding than the average folks, especially the ones made of plastic, like me. They definitely see something I don’t. Sure, I can find some bird sh… droppings (I know some trees under which you can find tons of it), collect them, call it art and sell it for a horrendous amount of money. The strange thing is that there may be someone that would actually purchase it and display it. Now…. that is a piece of art …. conceived of by an artist made of plastic. “?????????????”
In the modern art exhibit we looked at a piece where a single female breast pops out of a canvas (I actually think it resembles more my tail); an arrangement of life size gypsum people, one that looked at another one that appeared to be dead; a skeleton that seemed to do stretching excercises; paint splashes on a wall with a TV showing the “artist” creating them over and over again; paintings that are upside down; etc. Did we get it? Most of it not. I guess I really felt behind the moon. What exactly does all this have to do with capability not to mention beauty, arrangement of colors, forms, and materials? I was always under the impression that one had to be able to create a piece that also appealed to the eye. A unique piece, one that deserves to be called art. Guess no longer…. We probably could go on and on trying to understand and analyze, but I think we prefer to admit that we just don’t get the “bird dropping” kind of art. Looking at all this we feel a little bit like that TV at the elevator in one of the exhibits that continuously mumbled “HILFE” (help)” over and over again… oh by the way that was called Video-Art.