“I Could Have Done That”

The comment frivolously directed at so much modern art is that a child could have done it, or at the very least “I could have”.

But the point is, you didn’t. You did not have the idea to do it. And if you did have the idea, you did not have the work ethic.

The artist (whether a writer, painter, musician or any other kind) combined the idea with the work ethic and saw it through to reality. Simplicity and a lack of technique or skill required to produce an artwork merely makes the point stronger that they had a creativity and a work ethic that you did not.

And the more simple the art, the less that is superfluous, the more difficult it was to create.

That is the paradox that leads so many to think there is nothing unique in what was done. But what is hidden beneath the surface of some of the canon’s most beautifully simple works is an indescribable amount of thought and effort, and an immense struggle to show up day after day after day until art happened. The simplicity and elegance of much great art disguises what really went into it.

Author: mmoorejones

New Zealander and Philosophy, Politics and Economics student at Yale-NUS College.

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