In "10 Myths About Contemporary Art," I felt the need to clear up confusion. Now, it's time to address what may still have you scratching your head. What's so great about contemporary art? Why should I care? The truth is ... You DON'T have to care about contemporary art. It's not for everyone. However, here are some great reasons for you to explore it ...
1. IT'S NOW. Contemporary art is the best indicator of how creative people see society, the world and the human condition as it is ... right now. It's not as current as CNN, but it's a great way to find out how gifted, socially aware people like you view the world.
2. IT'S BEAUTIFUL. I remember the very first time I visited Art Basel Miami Beach. I was absolutely stunned by the beauty of it. The art on display in all of the galleries - even the "ugly" art - was exquisite. Nothing is more visually appealing than contemporary art. Well, maybe the Atlantic Ocean and Halle Berry, but apart from that, nothing.
3. IT'S INSPIRING. There's something about contemporary art that makes me feel refreshed and new. It's so inspiring. If you want to become more creative or find creative solutions to things in your life, spend some time looking at contemporary art. It will feed your spirit.
4. IT'S ZEN. There's also something about contemporary art that puts me in a calm, meditative state. This is why I try to spend time with it alone. When you're looking at art, you're really connecting with the artist and looking at him/her from the other side of the painting or sculpture. Contemporary art erases the strain, stress and strife that we experience in this world and brings us back to a state of calm and balance. Don’t you think you actually get more work done when you’re calm, happy and balanced? Okay, I’m just sayin’.
5. IT'S EDUCATION. There's something about art in general that makes you immediately smarter after you've spent time with it. I don't know what it is, but whenever I look at art, including art in my own home, it's as if I can feel my IQ rising or my brain being fed. Strange but true. Looking at art is like taking your brain to the gym for an intellectual workout.
6. IT'S WEIRD. If you truly want to understand contemporary art, I strongly urge you to EMBRACE the things you see that you might consider, "weird." When you accept something that you consider strange or weird on its own terms, YOU GROW. By the way, acceptance doesn't necessarily mean you condone something. It just means you see it for what it is and don't feel the need to try to change it. When you do this, your heart expands and you become more comfortable with yourself. If you reject it, your mind closes, your heart hardens and you develop dis-ease.
7. IT'S ABOUT PEOPLE. Connecting with great people in the art world can be a challenge, but it's do-able. I'm telling you, art people are the best. They're warm, creative and are great at thinking outside the box. They also tend to be some of the most physically beautiful people you'll ever see. Since they practice art appreciation and admire visual beauty, they also tend to be physically attractive themselves. Of course, looks are very shallow, but they are nice, No?
8. IT'S ORIGINAL. Of course, there's really nothing new under the sun. However, nothing comes as close to originality as fresh and innovative contemporary art. Trust your own eye. When you see something that's fresh and new for you, you'll know it immediately. Great contemporary art is a celebration of all that is artistic, fresh, innovative and yes, original.
9. IT'S FREE. Looking at contemporary art costs you nothing if you visit an art gallery. Just go and bask ... free of charge. Furthermore, you can also spend as much time as you want with it too. Great.
10. IT'S FREEING. Nothing nurtures a sense of independence and free spiritedness in us more than contemporary art. It's pure, artistic expression that encourages us to look within ourselves rather than seeking answers from everything outside of us. Contemporary art is not always easy ... just like winning a football game usually isn't easy for competing teams. However, if you spend time with it, you'll leave with an inexplicable sense of freedom and renewed belief in your own possibilities in this world.
But wait, there's more ...
11. IT'S JOYFUL. For me, contemporary art is one of the most joyful things in life that you can experience. The only thing greater is standing in front of the ocean. However, the ocean itself is art that God himself created. Whenever I look at art of any genre, I feel this great sense of joy and connectedness with my own creation, my own breathing and beating heart and my own creativity.
Get up right now and go look at yourself in the mirror. YOU are contemporary art. YOU are a breathing, living, contemporary masterwork. No matter how bad your life may get, you can still celebrate the fact that your heart continues to beat every second without any help from you. That's joyful. When you connect with contemporary art, you're really connecting with yourself and you're celebrating creative spirit that flows through everything. When you connect with contemporary art, you are living in and acknowledging the HERE and the NOW. That's a joyful thing that goes far beyond money, success, fame or luxurious material goods.
Live your life. Be free. Now ... go get some art.