Sold at art auction this week were a number of record setting pieces. Among them was Rothko's "No. 6 (Yellow, White, Blue Over Yellow on Gray)," an oil-on-canvas from 1954 that soared to $17,368,000 including the auction house's commission, far eclipsing the high estimate of $12 million and besting the old mark for a Rothko of $16,359,500, set just last year.
On the PvP boards there was a poll discussion about the mertits of this piece, and if it was even art.
The results were about
75% - Looks like something I could do
25% - Artistic masterpiece
And since I wrote such a lengthy philosophical reply on the subject I thought I'd share with the rest of my friends list.
In Houston there is a Rothko chapel. Inside hang several of his large works, appropriately lit and very large. I went there and was very unimpressed. While the chapel and paintings do have a certain minimalist asthetic, I found it grey and lifeless, much like a parking garage. Some people think it is a wonderful work of art. The fact is that we all have differences in taste, and Rothko isn't high on my list. I say this after reading the literature provided and taking a few moments to appreciate the art history perspective of Rothko.
For a piece that I would want to keep and display, I would take most of the artists on this board over Rothko, and it's because we have similar tastes. I personally get more from those items.
I don't think you can say that everything in the world that conveys emotion is art, because then everything is art. Rothko is definately art. So are children's crayola paintings on the fridge. Some art is more meaningful to you because you know the history of the person, and that connection has meaning to you. The value is not in the actual work itself, but what it represents. One of the most moving pieces I saw in that category was a sheen of oil suspended between two transparent plates and backlit. It was a pretty oil slick, but what made it moving to me was the knowledge that came with it and what it represented, the sacrifice made by the men of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.
I share the opinion that a great work of art is accessable to the masses. It combines skill and emotion, and almost everybody that sees it will know and agree upon what the artist was trying to convey. I think most of the general population appreciates realistic representational work more than an abstract / modern work.
I do disagree that somebody's uninformed opinion of a work of art has less value than somebody who knows the history of a piece. They are both equally valuable, they just have different perspectives, and evaluation of art is all about different perspectives and taste rather than knowledge in my book.