I’m reminded of some conversations I’ve had with people in the framing industry. The conversation goes “I don’t like abstract art.” says the guy (a sort of carpenter, specializing in art presentation furniture) He is making 200 frames for the art bought by a hotel chain that will be the centerpiece for a room. The room will have a bed, a TV with 57 channels, a lamp and a big window with a thick drapery and one big work of art above the bed for which he built the frames. Maybe a couple of smaller pieces to one side to balance it.. Of course there’s a small bath adjoining the room with another small etching and a mirror.
The picture framer is thinking, perhaps (Emperor’s New Clothes!) But not- because he is unfamiliar with the tale or the possible application of the allegory’s illustratiion of alternate points of view! He never got that lecture, even in a High School class ’cause the teacher was a “Phys Ed” coach who never got it himself.
Now if this guy goes on a trip and needs to settle into a hotel he will probably glance above the bed, and if the art is a landscape he will give it a once-over and think to himself “That’s nice… I like blubonnets.” But he will lie on the bed and stare at the TV for hours, and exclaim aloud “57 channels, and nothing’s on.” The weekly football game is tomorrow, so he thinks. I’m wondering if TV channels will ever need “test patterns” again. I should design those, I think.
The last time this fellow went to an art museum he walked past some of the most groundbreaking examples of 20th century art and went straight for the portrait gallery, then to the gallery of Barbizon School paintings and then to the Turner’s, the Hudson River School and other American Impressionists. Then perhaps a quick scan of French Impressionists nearby, not realizing what a scandal this kind of painting caused, not an inkling of what came next… And this trip to the museum was 10 years ago.
So then when he confides to me, “I don’t like abstract art,” do I dare talk to him about music?