The Art of Cubist Philosophy
A few weeks ago, I had a day off from work and decided to wander down to the world-renowned Kimbell Art Museum here in Fort Worth to take in some work on display by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, two famous, albeit confusing, Cubist artists. I had been exposed to Cubist art (aka art-that-makes-no-sense-whatsoever) in an Art Appreciation class several years back, and was now ready, I thought, to boldly face what I would consider art from another planet.
If you perceive a flavor of fear in that last sentence, you would perceive correctly. As I got out of my car and approached the museum entrance, I felt a deeply-entrenched sense of dread. I feared that it would somehow reflect badly on me, my intelligence, and my artistic sensibilities if I failed to understand it, or failed to appreciate it, or worse yet, failed to justify my position other than to say, “because it’s, like, gross!”
So, as I walked slowly, thoughtfully, fearfully through the gallery, I stopped in front of every etching and every painting and read every informational placard to desperately glean some insight as to what mind-bending message the artist meant to convey. And, I must say that I had somewhat limited (i.e., zero) success. For the most part, it all still looked like something one would slap together for lack of anything else better to do. And, if I had been changed in any way as a result of the experience, I would have to say I came out more confused than when I went in, if only because it was apparent that someone appreciates this stuff and I was obviously too dense to figure out why.
I’ve had a chance to reflect on it in the weeks since, though, and here’s what I’ve decided: I’ve decided that all these cubist guys want is to provoke me into seeing that there is more than one world out there that I can only discover through multiple perspectives. I believe they want me to widen, stretch, bend, and twist my field of vision, so that I am able to take in not only what I believe I should be seeing, but take in (and be surprised by) what I don’t expect to see.
In short, their message to me is life has infinite variety, if I will only be brave enough to look for it. Which is all well and good. But I personally believe that I would have gotten the point without the whole boob in the forehead thing.