Quiz: Art Or NOT Art?

harmonleon by harmonleon on Jul. 24, 2014

Modern art often confuses me. Tracy Emin’s My Bed sold for £2.4 million at an auction last month. It features the artist's own bed covered in stained sheets, discarded condoms, blood-stained underwear, and empty booze bottles. (Sounds like Thursday at my house.) Looking at 'My Bed' I have to ask;is it art or NOT art? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Art!

Last week, I ventured to Musée D'Art Contemporain De Montréal in, well, Montreal. Founded in 1964, it is Canada's first museum devoted to contemporary art – located at Place des Arts. (Translation: Place of the Arts.) The museum focuses on contemporary art from Quebec, Canadian and international artists. (That pretty much covers it.)  

Where the art goes.

Besides enjoying innovative world-class (but mostly Canadian) art at Musée D'Art Contemporain De Montréal, a fun activity to do is to play the game: Art/NOT Art.

How it works: While at Musée D'Art Contemporain De Montréal take various photos of items inside the facility, and have your friends determine if it’s Art or NOT Art. Sometimes it’s reeeeeaaaaaly hard to tell – when it comes to modern art. Other times you think; well, I guess art can be found anywhere if you look hard enough.

Ready to play? Ok, let’s go. (Answers are underneath each photo.):

1. Title: A Matter of Abstraction    

Materials : Acrylic on wood

The canvas and wooden panel is all painted yet some parts are left bare. Is the work abstract? The artist purposely lets us see the brush stroke and application of the paint where it seems to have been lightly air brushed.

ART!

2. Title : Abstraction  of Simplicity

Materials : Acrylic on wood

In the work, there are no lines, no forms and essentially one color: white. It’s abstract in as much as we can associated it with other abstract works, more particularly to the radical simplicity of the first and most famous monochrome painting: White on white (1918) by Kasimir Malevich.

NOT ART!

3. Title : Light Modulator  

Materials : Painted aluminum

ThIs influential art piece can be understood not only in terms of geometric abstraction but also as investigation, experiment and research. It resonates in our contemporary discourse around the possibilities and impossibilities of the white cube.

ART!

4. Title : Forced Nature

Materials : Painted aluminum

This influential work invites the viewer to experience the relationship between the forms and the gallery walls, floors, the ceiling and passageways. The piece explores its relationship with debates surrounding the definition of the art object.

NOT ART!

5. Title : Forbidden Space IX

Materials : Acrylic and painted steel

The artist defines sculptural space as “unstable” and “forbidden.”

ART!

6. Title : Forbidden Space IX

Materials : Acrylic and painted steel

The artist defines sculptural space as “unstable” and “forbidden.”

NOT ART!

7. Title : Éclipse

Materials :          Neon

The two tubes represent a depiction of nature as seen through the eyes of a neon solar eclipse.

ART!

8. Title : Sortie

Materials :  Neon

The illuminated sign depicts man’s existential plight – that eventually leads to an exit from this life into death.

NOT ART!

9. Title : A Rack for Objects of Desire

Materials : Linden

A magnified three-dimensional grid - reflects on the site and space of artistic practice, among other things.

Art!

10. Title : A Foundation of Destiny

Materials :   Concrete and steel

An array of references that do not belong exclusively to artistic practice: minimal and conceptual art, Op art, painterly abstraction, astronomy, poetic metaphor.

NOT ART!

How did you do? Not so good. It just goes to show that in this innovative world – art can be found everywhere; sometimes the container is as interesting as the contents in the world of art and NOT art!

Follow Harmon Leon on Twitter @HarmonLeon

4 comments
Tali-Wu-687
Tali-Wu-687 User

If you're going to place the pics in a pattern of 1. Art  2. Non Art, what's the point of guessing?

Obiwayne66
Obiwayne66 User

Technically the first seven arent abstract works, they are "minimalist" works

DoucheBaggins
DoucheBaggins User

NO wonder that Province is going down the shitter.