Student reporter flummoxed by abstraction

In Washington State University’s Daily Evergreen, student Zachariah Bryan declares that he hates abstract art. Apparently �Red Player,” a Jack McLarty painting hanging in the school library, sparked Bryan’s diatribe. “The main problem I have with abstract art is, however absurd the art may seem, it is supposed to actually have some kind of deep meaning.” Bryan writes. “Once the original shape is completely pared away, the viewer is purportedly given a profound clarity as to what the art portrays. This clarity usually comes in the form of a person scratching his head in complete perplexity. The meaning is completely dubious. It is anyone�s guess as to the true meaning of the piece and the only clue an audience might be granted is the title which, even then, could result in more bewilderment. I loathe how abstract art tries to be something more than just art. While interesting in theory, the idea that art can achieve a deeper meaning in the shearing of form is completely ridiculous when it reaches the tapestry. McLarty�s painting only epitomizes the bafflement abstract art often provides. The art form only serves to baffle the viewer or conjure crackpot conclusions from yuppies.” Jack McLarty’s work is represented in numerous collections including the Salem Art Association, the Hallie Ford Museum, the Portland Art Museum, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Smithsonian. Read more.

Related post:
Honesty in art criticism at Brandeis


  1. Wow. I feel real bad for that student author. It must suck to be him.

  2. Michael,

    I have a feeling Zack isn’t looking for a career in the arts, and he probably doesn’t follow the blogs. If, on the other hand, he would like to be an arts writer, he probably likes the attention.


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