When presented with abstract art, those who dispute its value often say, “I could do that!” Jackson Pollock, one of the more famous abstract artists, used a technique of splashing paint on a canvas in a way that looks random. But his work is not as simple as it may seem. His non-traditional style conveyed energy and emotion rather than literal reality.
While his art is loved by many, detractors complain that his paintings are random and meaningless. According to physicist Richard Taylor, Pollock’s paintings actually show order within the chaos. He has published research on the fractal geometry found within Pollock’s work. Fractals are patterns found within nature from the smallest snowflakes to the shapes of clouds and the patterns of coastlines. Their appearance in Pollock’s paintings is unlikely by chance.
Taylor, who in addition to being a physicist, is also an art historian. He says, “even Pollock said, …my concerns are with the rhythms of nature.” Whether this connection to the natural world is why so many people are drawn to these paintings is unclear. Trying to make sense of abstract work via science will unlikely sway those who poo-poo the value of this form of art.
In more recent news, a piece of artwork by Italian artist, Maurizio Cattelan, consisted of a banana taped to a wall. It sold for $120,000. This was not the first unorthodox work by Cattelan. He also once sold a gold toilet for six million dollars.
His banana art piece is called Comedian. It was being displayed on the walls of a Miami gallery until a man named David Datuna walked up, removed the banana, and ate it. Datuna is no hater. He is an artist himself and actually considers himself a fan. He calls Cattelan a genius. Datuna also insists he is no vandal. He says, “I love Maurizio Cattelan artwork, and I really love this installation. It’s very delicious.” He defended his act by saying, “… it’s not like I ate art …it’s not a banana, it’s a concept. And I just ate the concept of the artist. So I think this is cool, this is fun, this is what art is about.”
While the police were called, the artist is not pressing charges. Datuna was simply kicked out. The gallery owner promptly taped another banana to the wall keeping the art alive. This banana work of art will likely be a head-scratcher for many. But according to writer Ian Harvey, “art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.”