Just a relative few examples of the many amazing artworks and exhibitions that I have seen on my four-year #ArtSafari tour of famous Art Museums, Churches, Street Art, Art Galleries, Art Fairs and private art studios in Europe (including in Oslo, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Venice, Milan, Florence, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Zurich, Genève, Basel, Gstaad, Lugano, Ascona, Locarno, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Bilbao, Malaga etc.). #ArtSafari
As I completed this long bucket list project I found that my rather simple intentions (to visit the most famous museums and galleries; and to get inspiration for my own art) have, in fact, hurled me into another wider world of perspectives, learning and impressions of humanity’s history, culture, economy and religion through Art. Being an artist and art philisopher myself, I approached the project like “schooling and a job”. The end result being a rather more critical and nuanced view of the meaning of Art, the development of art techniques and styles, and the politics and business of being an artist: before and today. This, of course, influences what, how and why I myself paint.
I have visited most of the “most famous art museums in Europe”, and there are many reasons that they are amongst the most frequented. However, art museums only present a few details from the larger picture. Therefore I combine art museum visits in various countries and from various curatorial cultures and perspectives with contemporary art galleries, Street Art, and Art Fairs — as well as looking at art online and in art and art photography books.
The focus upon art by celebrities of the past and the present is both annoying and interesting. The practice is no different today than it always has been. And the art of a few famous persons has always been the standard for the Art World, its patrons and the art viewing public.
#ArtSafari itinerary: This autumn and next winter I continue with my #ArtSafari of Europe’s most renowned art museums, art galleries and Street Art in Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Malaga and Bilbao. I will have then been to art museums, galleries and Street Art neighborhoods in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Bilbao, Paris, London, Venice, Florence, Milan, Rome, Amsterdam, Dublin, Edinburgh, Geneva, Zurich, Basel, Gstaad, Berlin, Buenos Aires, New York, and more.
Reflection: one important thing I am learning from these Art Safaris is respect for my own art, which is largely an evolutionary development of the best and not so very notable works by famous artists in museums. Eg. I have now seen Picasso’s « best » and also much of his (and others’) make-fast-cash works. It is all a learning experience which gives me greater appreciation of my own artistic pursuits.
The book “Aesthetics of the Margins / The Margins of Aesthetics” is quite thought-provoking. The authors (one of whom is the great grandson of the famous painter Camille Pissarro) maintain among other things that people are raised and herded into following art aesthetics and trends dictated to them, and all other art is quickly relegated to be considered as “Kitsch”, “amateurish”, “failures” etc. They also say that much “non-High Art” is disregarded resolutely. The result being that young persons quickly get discouraged from individual expression, and society misses out on important new creative ideas. I see parallels in all art forms, including literature, dance, and classical music. It also helps to explain why many artists are first “discovered” long after their deaths.
New art may be seen in the context of old established art but simply as a reaction to what we have grown up with, have been mandated, and have reacted to. Contemporary art is difficult to compare with art and art trends from 200-1000 years ago. It is another animal. Perhaps it is not necessarily the artists or the art buying markets that are the problem with art evolution. Perhaps it is public education and societal perception.
One Quora commentator who just “does not like Abstract Art” tries to explain why:
I have heard many individuals tell me that they do not like my art and writing because it is abstract, does not follow norms, is foreign, is difficult etc. Ironically, I almost always choose the “abstract, but recognizable” approach, which also annoys some “purists who think they are art or literary experts” because they want to be able to categorize art solely as abstract or realistic. Yet, while I do not relate to this Quora commentator’s dismissal of most abstract art, I do understand the appeal of the recognizable in abstractions. It creates a tension that provokes a reaction — like or dislike — which becomes a worm in the consciousness of the viewer/reader. Things that seem apparent are at once foreign, and mysteries that eventually need to be solved and resolved … but only when we are ready to leave our comfort zones.
“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.”
— Pablo Picasso
Reflection on personal Swag:
“Some misunderstand me when I emphatically rebel against categorization and pigeon-holing, and against being expected to paint and write in the same styles and genres forever … or to slavishly follow ‘the rules of writing, or painting.’ What I intend to communicate is the constant importance of being original and new-thinking. However, knowledge of historically significant styles, techniques and art movements is fairly (in today’s art world) vital to knowing what innovations one wishes to explore … and why. You do not need to ‘master’ old styles and techniques in order to paint or write in your own new style, but understanding of them technically and in social/art historical contexts will make your new works much more dynamic and powerful. Art involves constant decision-making — and in order to make decisions we need to have some rudimentary understanding of art history in technical and social contexts. This includes creating ‘art’ from accidents. It is not only personal signature style that commands how we paint. Each subject may demand a specific style or variation on personal signature. ” — Adam Donaldson Powell