We have all seen art we don’t like. Sometimes we even feel disturbed by it. Just think that could be the artist’s intention. Do you ever think art doesn’t make sense? Or even worse think how can that be art? You are not alone. Some people walk into a museum and think this is boring, why am I looking at this, or what does this mean? In my experience it’s more enjoyable going to a museum if you already know the meaning of the artwork. One museum that does an extraordinary job at providing patrons resources before visiting is the Getty. The Getty is a leader in the art world of research, conservation and philanthropy. Today through September 7th the Getty will exhibit, “The Scandalous Art of James Ensor.”
Scandalous, Wicked and Shocking = James Ensor.
In the 1880’s and 1890’s Ensor was considered scandalous and defiant. It was a time of social and political unrest in Belgium, as well as a real up-swing in culture. Ensor's art at that time became fantastic, bizarre and grotesque. Even his peers had trouble accepting his work.
Take for example the drawing, “Plague Above, Plague Below, Plague All Around.” Notice the sun spewing vomit down below on everything. On the left there are two men facing each other, one with snot coming from his nose and the other smoking. In the middle is a group of 4 people sitting with a pile of poop below them. What could that mean? The woman on the right holds a seemingly dying baby, and has snot coming from her nose.
This drawing certainly represents class distinction. Is it the upper class that is wrongfully surrounded by the rougher lower class? Or is it vice versa? That is for the viewer to determine.
To view the mobile tour of the exhibit click here. And remember at the most basic level art is to look at and simply considering what you see before you, is good enough.