Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hotel Art Goes Pop

I left Where We Are Now at the Cincinnati Art Museum wondering if all contemporary art is pop art. The works come here from the 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville ahead of the opening of the boutique hotel in Cincinnati. Accessibility to contemporary art is perhaps first and foremost to a hotel collection, and what's more accessible than popular culture?

With Batman, Superman, a hip hop artist, American flags, music from the 80's this collection is certainly accessible to just about anyone who would stay at 21C. In a museum though, I grew tired and for a moment wished I was in a hotel so I could nap. Perhaps that's the catch; "Where Are We Now" may not be a rhetorical but a trick question. As a 21C collection, the answer is a hotel. At an art museum it is an endorsement of hotel chain.

And that's where we are.


Roderick Vesper said...

Perhaps the reason that "pop art" is so popular in shows is because high school art classes typically end their exploration of art history at that point. I can't tell you how many of my kids freak out when they realize that "modern" art is actually a historical period and that there is something else happening altogether in the contemporary world. The number of students from high school to college that get any sort of education about art beyond Warhol falls heavily in the minority.

Anonymous said...

Good point Roderick. One can't help wondering if artsnob's education didn't end there too, as on more than one occasion she has incorrectly labled pieces as "pop art".
Perhaps her pop art lamenting is more a commentary on the state of contemporary "art historians" than the state of "contemporary art".

Me said...

Not just high school. Last time I checked at Miami University, art students weren't required to take any art history courses from 1945 to the present.

I don't really have a problem with Pop fact, it is much more engaging than the typical hotel art, which was one point I was making.

The other is really this is simply a private collection...exhibited to promote a hotel chain.

Me said...

Also, just because it is made later and made fatter doesn't make it post-modern.

The only people who would find a fat batman provocative are those who think the flag looks like a Rice Krispie Treat.