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I’ve never warmed up much to “contemporary” art.

I’ve tried, and continue to try, to derive some meaning from the abstract squiggles and lines and shapes that people hang in galleries and museums, by people far more knowledgeable in artistic matters than I. I read books and peruse auction catalogs. I talk to people about it, ask questions, and recognize that my lack of training in the arts is a handicap. I don’t have an MFA, I have an MS, so I’m just happy to be taken seriously when I talk to a member of the art intelligentsia. I respect their credentials as I would hope they would respect mine on matters scientific.

Still, I just don’t get it. I continue to believe, privately for the most part, that Abstract Expressionism was a manufactured movement.  I think Warhol was mainly a genius at self-promotion, and don’t even get me started on Damien Hirst. Most of the time  I can’t help but feel that there’s a joke afoot and I just haven’t heard the punchline.

Despite my native skepticism, I can’t bring myself to dismiss it because doing so runs counter to my personal view that art is inclusive, almost without limits. My not getting it is no real indication that there is no it to get got. People don’t get a lot of my own work, and that includes me sometimes.

Against this egalitarian backdrop, it pains me to admit that I relish the opportunity to view a work of abstraction and say, out loud, “that’s shit!”

I give you:

Untitled (Bird Shit): Dan Colen (American), 2007

If you like it, you can pick it up at Sotheby’s

The low estimate is a cool $29,035.92 US at current exchange rates.  Good luck, bidders.


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