Reddit Gold: “Why is modern art so inaccessible?”

Reddit Gold highlights the most useful and educational content on Reddit as found on r/AutoBestOf.

Today’s post is from u/SolAnise who answers the question: “Why is modern art so inaccessible?

I once read something that explained modern art in a way that made sense to me, so I’m going to paraphrase it here for y’all.

Once you move beyond direct representational art, you should think of it like you would memes. Early generation memes are simple and easy to read or relate to, like rage faces. Eventually, they get overused and new memes are created. With ever generation you get a little further away from direct representation and you start to develop this entire language of inside jokes and references that only make sense if you know the reference of the reference of the reference you’re referencing, if you get my drift. By the time you reach modern memes, you end up with some truly bizarre and surreal shit that’s only funny to people who are in the know.

Modern art has developed the same way. A lot of stuff that seems simplistic is culturally complex, you just don’t know the language well enough to read and relate to it. While that does mean that modern art can be harder to relate to for those who aren’t interested in the history, it doesn’t mean it has no value. The target audience is just a bit narrower.

That doesn’t mean a lot of modern art isn’t incredibly stupid, but well, a lot of modern memes are incredibly stupid and people still love them.


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