I

mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

Modernism

Last year about this time I was beginning to read about the history of religion. Now it seems like I've turned my sights on the history of modern art. Or I should say "Modernism."

So many terms get thrown around that confuse me but make me curious. Like calling something "post-modern." Sounds so cool, so edgy... but what the hell does it mean?

The term "modern" is way over-used. I always thought that calling something "modern" meant that it was up-to-date and not "old fashioned." But actually the Modern Age started somewhere in the late 14th century, when the Middle Ages finally sputtered out. Think Christopher Columbus and Leonardo daVinci.

But Modernism is a new age, beginning in the late 19th century (and possibly already done with -- see "Post-Modernism -- but I'll have to get back to you on that). Think Picasso, Van Gogh, Art Deco, and 1950s chrome-legged kitchen tables.

We've been watching a lot of modern artist bios on DVDs, for a change of pace. That gets me curious. Then, I just finished an audio book called "Proust Was a Neuroscientist" -- how modernist artists, writers, and musicians began to understand and explore what would later become breakthroughs in neurosciences -- how our brain works -- how we really process memory, sound, taste, vision, hearing. That all kind of brings me back to Zen -- what we think we know is illusion, and the more we try to process it the farther from "reality" we get. Hmm...

Anyway, I went to the library Tuesday and got some books on modern art and Modernism to educate myself. It's a good change from listening to the latest politics and endless fact-free speculation about the electoral process. (Now that's got to be "post-modern" -- or maybe "pre-apocolyptic"!)

2.14.2008

Drop me a line!