Is There More to Life than Pop Art?

Read Jonathan Jones’s art blog today- I cruise the art blogs every now and then. Pop art is a hot topic right now because of the Pop Life exhibition currently going on at the Tate Modern in London. I blogged about that a few days ago. I hope to have the chance to go see it when i’m in London next week.


In the meantime, Jonathan Jones’s take on the status of pop and contemporary art, while only one man’s opinion, is all too often true. There’s a lot of “crap” out there. The term “pop art” has morphed and changed and become a catch-all phrase for so many different kinds of art…some i wouldn’t even classify as art. And the museum circuit contributes to this “pulling the wool over our eyes” mentality in the art world. 


 I recently went to an exhibit in a well-known contemporary art museum. The exhibit was a conference room you could walk into. There was a big empty boardroom-type table with 8 chairs and by each chair was a telephone. You could sit in the chairs and pick up the recievers of the telephone and listen to different recorded messages. I was stunned. The point, it turns out, was for this exhibit to be a social commentary on the state of our working world today. Everything is recorded. Everything is electronic. You can’t get a real human being on the phone. Ok. So, yes, that’s definitely something unique about contemporary society. We should take notice of it…we should talk about what it’s doing to human communication. But a museum exhibit??? Really?


There’s too much blurring today between idea and execution. What happened to painting and drawing. and creativity…perspective….composition…the subtleties of color. A table, 8 chairs, and some telephones? Great idea. No execution. Definitely gives you something to think about, but is it art?

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4 responses to “Is There More to Life than Pop Art?”

  1. It absolutely is art. I completely agree with your comment on the lack of some of the ideas that previously made art such a wonderful experience. However, art has expanded (and in my opinion for the better) to encompass many expressions of society. As society becomes more complex, so must art and how we express it. I do believe that more explorations in the classic mediums should exist (and they do) but just because something is new and in a different medium doesn’t mean it is not art. (Sorry for the long comment). Wonderful blog!

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for the comment Brian. No doubt art has expanded…and i applaud that. It just puzzles me sometimes what IS and ISN’t considered art. Many art critics won’t recognize my art…or that of several of my contemporaries as “art” but they will accept a table, 8 chairs, and a telephone as “art.” That’s the part i don’t get.

  3. Travel for holiday says:

    wonderful blog…

  4. I enjoy some conceptual art and pop art because it speaks to us about the thinking of culture and society at this particular moment in time. But it is decidedly “of the moment” and one must wonder what this art will it mean eventually to anyone outside its present context. It is difficult to say. Perhaps some future generations might think us quite wasteful and indeed mad.

    in terms of its longevity in art history, pop and conceptual art it might not have legs. But maybe that is not so important to every artist. “Happenings”, performance art, and virtual art (that which exists soley on the Internet) emphasize their ephemeral nature as a value, with a desire to only exist in the here and now (then again, we know documentation becomes a commodity and that makes it a bit bogus to me – – think Christo). Clearly it is for each artist to decide how much importance they place on art history and his or her place in it.

    That being my opinion I thought it might interest you, Charles, to read this opinion published in The New York Times yesterday. The author Denis Dutton seems to agree with you on the dubious worth of some idea-oriented art. He seems to think that art which has some evidence of “execution” will have more lasting value.

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