The other day while grocery shopping, I spotted this cover of Do It Yourself magazine. In the center of the cover it shows you how you can “make abstract art” ever so easily, but as an artist and someone who has studied Art History extensively, I took a major issue with this claim. The “abstract art” in question is shown as a vertical pattern of spoons displayed in alternating directions. I want this to be very clear: that is not abstract art.
Wikipedia tells us that Abstract Art:
“…uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.“
Using this definition, we can learn that to be abstract art, the subject matter must be so foreign to the viewer, that it must rely on its own visual cues to compose itself. Basically, this means that Abstract Art follows its own rules. So if you see a line of spoons it must not really be spoons that you are seeing. My favorite example of this is Magritte’s, “This Is Not A Pipe” shown below:
I’m pretty sure Do It Yourself magazine wasn’t trying to go this deep with its suggestion to make an Abstract Art project. The magazine simply should have claimed that you can make “pattern art!” or something of that nature. A pattern of recognizable spoons is not “abstract” (or at least not in this example). This is a pattern. Get your terms right, DIY Magazine!