Some things I don’t get:
- Why spam is effective (i.e., who is buying that cheap Viagra, paying for those university diplomas, applying for “100% guaranteed” mortgages, etc.?)
- Why people ask for (or tolerate) ice cubes in their water
- Modern art
I’ll tackle the first two another time. This weekend I went to the Museum of Modern Art.
Ron Visits MOMA
For the impatient, let me just state my conclusion now: MOMA is the biggest ripoff since college textbooks.
My mother had wanted to visit the museum for some time now, so we made a birthday trip out of it for her.
Admission: $20 apiece. As we paid the cashier, I swear that for a split second I saw the words “I DON’T CARE! I’D RATHER OVERCHARGE PATRONS — THAN CALL MY BENEFACTORS FOR HELP!” floating in a cartoon bubble over his head.
I’ve decided that there are two problems with MOMA.
The first is that they charge an audacious $20 per person. Their mission is clearly not to make their collection accessible to the public; if it were, they’d follow the Met’s example and structure the admission fee as a suggested donation–or at least charge a more reasonable amount.
My theory is that MOMA charges a lot not only to turn a profit, but also in an attempt to help them justify to the public that their collection is indeed “art.” (On the other hand, everybody pretty much agrees that the Met’s collection is art and is worth seeing–and paying for. Unlike at MOMA, no self-aggrandizement is necessary; the Met is secure enough in the value of its art to let people in for free.)
The second problem is with the collection itself; or maybe it’s with contemporary art in general. Yes, I did enjoy some of the pieces at MOMA–Wyeth and Hopper stand out (how traditional of me!)–but there were several pieces that were silly or pointless. Beautiful art? Good. Though-provoking art? Great! Snigger-provoking art…? Not as much.
Now, before you roll your eyes and say, “Poor Ron. He just doesn’t get it,” let me assure you: you’re right; I don’t get it. But that’s not because I haven’t weighed the facts. I’ve gone through the “What is art?” exercise.
(What is art? “Nothing is art.” “Everything is art.” “Art is art.” “God is art.” “Art just is.” “What art is is indeterminate.” “My wife is art.” “This blog is art.” “The programs I write at work are art.
(code is poetry.)” “Yo mama is art.”)
The point is: if I want to ruminate over questions of aesthetics, I’d rather spend my $20 on a good, though-provoking book. It does nothing for me to stare at a blank, white canvas, or some squiggles that a monkey (or a four-year-old Homo sapiens) might have made. (Take this very short and amusing test and judge for yourself.) And frankly, to charge me for the privilege is downright insulting.
Applying blanket “artistic equivalence” is as shady (and counterproductive) as applying blanket moral equivalence. Sometimes, one side really is right. And sometimes, “a blank canvas is just a blank canvas.”
We had a good time at MOMA.
“What?” you say. “Didn’t you just pan that place?”
Well, yes, I suppose I did. But I accept that my $80 (there were 4 of us) is a sunk cost, and I’m perfectly willing to admit that we had a fun time at MOMA. Some art we liked; the rest we mocked. But it was all fun.
Afterwards, we met friends at Gyu-Kaku for some good Japanese BBQ, and then went back to their place to eat our take-out Veniero’s and play games. And the “Most Surreal Scene” award of the evening goes to the boisterous Santa convention was passed in the street outside an East Village bar.