Yesterday while watching a show about modern art, I finally “got” modern art. Like this:
It turns out the answer to understanding modern art actually took me back to my classes at Christendom. The 4 transcendentals of being are one, true, good, and beautiful. Of course, the one thing that Dr. Carroll always fought against was the modern notion that truth doesn’t really exist. The modern mind claims that there IS no truth, or, at least that my “truth” is equally as valid as your “truth.” However, I also think that the modern mind, and the modern artist, (rightly) see that truth and beauty are intertwined. If you reject truth then the other transcendentals of being must be rejected as well. To claim that a Caravaggio is more beautiful than the picture above is to de facto make a claim about truth, since truth is concomitant with beauty. We can’t have that. Therefore, we have to have “art” that has no beauty in it whatsoever so that we can make the claim my “art” is just as good as your “art”; there is no beauty without truth, and no truth without beauty; both must be abolished at the same time or not at all.
All this time I just thought that this art was just garbage (sometimes literally), now I think it’s much more insidious than that; it’s trying to make an existential claim that there is no absolute truth and beauty. I guess those paintings really did speak to me after all…