Appreciate abstract art

Nishka Mishra | The Chronicle

Everyone loves to hate abstract art. It is something we as a society can all seem to band together against. Splatters of paint on a canvas, all-white painting and shapes that look like they could have been drawn by a kindergartener hung up in some of the most famous museums around the world and sold for millions. It is easy to see art like this and make the bold claim “I could have made this.” I have heard it countless times from my peers, TikTok “art critiques” and even my own mother who majored in fine arts. It is always easier to say rather than to do, yet this perspective is held quite widely in the realm of art. 

Realism and complementary murals are awed by the masses, but when it comes to abstract art, suddenly everyone has an opinion. I too was a believer in the simplicity of abstract art, calling anyone who bought a white canvas for a million dollars absurd. It was not until I looked into the history and experiences behind the art that I could truly enjoy it. Abstract art is a style that came from the modern movement. It was a way for artists to express themselves and rebels to explore new ideas in a post-war society. Art was created as a means for people to express themselves, to break the boundaries of what we viewed as normal and to make comments on issues in society. Every abstract painting is a lens into the artist’s interpretation of the world around them. 

Remember the viral and controversial piece of art of a banana taped with gray duct tape to a wall? People all over the world were enraged and confused as to how that piece sold for $120,000. Again, everyone across the internet screamed that they could take a banana from their kitchen, tape it to the wall, and create the same “masterpiece.” 

But that was exactly the point. The artist was trying to make his own commentary about consumers and access to art. He attempted to challenge the notion of elitism in art by making it accessible to all. The piece was intended to comment on society’s commercialization of art, making it an indulgence only for the upper class. The nature of the art was to exemplify the rebellious nature abstract pieces can hold and the conversations they can spark. Whether it be a graffiti artist painting murals on the side of a subway station, or a sculptor taping a banana to a wall, the true meaning of art can extend far beyond what we initially perceive. First glances at a painting are never enough to comment on the worth of a piece. 

I truly believe there is no such thing as “bad art.” For people who believe that they can make better abstract art than masters, I challenge you to try, allow yourself to fail and make something that is a representation of how you perceive the world around you. There is more than what meets the eye in every single art piece; it is what you make out of it. So pick up your brush and throw some paint on a canvas, maybe you’ll become a millionaire while you are at it.