Steve Martin on how to look at abstract art | MoMA BBC | THE WAY I SEE IT

Steve Martin on how to look at abstract art | MoMA BBC | THE WAY I SEE IT


Steve Martin: Low on the right. Framer: Is that any better? Steve: Exactly the same as it was. Steve: Perfect! I think. Paul Kobrak: To start, could you introduce
yourselves- Steve: Hi to a British audience? Steve: Okay, uh, let me think what would be
a way to introduce myself to a… Hi, it’s Steve Martin. Paul: All the guests were asked to choose
one work of art from the collection. You’ve chosen two. Steve: Yes. One painting is by Stanton Macdonald-Wright. They’re both American paintings, and this
was done in 1917, and the one over here is done by Morgan Russell, done in 1922. Essentially minor things compared to everything
else that hangs at MoMA. I thought, gee, those are, those are so, they’re
like, lonely. And so I picked them. And these two artists, I believe, were both
in Paris at the time. And they started working on this completely
abstract system of painting. They called it Synchromism… Ann: Yes. Steve: Which is, “with color,” it means. And they come up with a fancy name for it. Ann: Right. Steve: As we all should. I don’t generally care about theories. They kind of get in the way of looking at
the picture. But I think the result of working from a theory
can be fantastic, but it also could be done maybe without the
theory. but you don’t need to know the theory in
order to appreciate the painting. I really like to look at it. And I can look at it a long time, because
there’s a lot of different parts that succeed as a whole. I think of this as an intellectual painting,
like a Léger, Ann: It’s the construction of the picture
that he’s interested in, and that you’re interested in, right? Steve: I don’t know, but I think so. Sounds good! Ann: Sounds good. Ann: When I look at this picture, there’s
a real sense of- Steve: Do you want to sing? Ann: Luckily not, but lots of motion, lots
of rhythm. Steve: And there’s a lot of depth. I mean, the image goes way deep, it’s almost
like, in the top there, it feels a little bit like sky. I don’t think he intended that. I hate to say this, but now I’m starting
to see a landscape with mountains, sky, and water. I believe pictures reveal themselves over
time. You can’t really get it in one lengthy look. You know, it’s great to be able to live
with a painting or visit a painting in a museum, and go back and back and back. And the good ones really do keep on giving. It’s amazing. A picture is stationary, it’s immobile,
and yet, it changes for you. But I’m just going to step back on this,
because, my foot’s asleep. I just am now convinced, this is a landscape
painting. This is a stream, these are jutting rocks,
this is a mountaintop, that’s the sky, that’s sort of cloudy. Paul: Has it improved? Steve: Absolutely, for me. But now, I see almost like a narrative story. I mean, even the Morgan Russell is very voluminous,
it’s a floating object in a way. Ann: Yeah, but I think if you came back on
another day, you’d see something different too. Steve: Yeah, maybe. Ann: Right? That’s – Steve: No I’m convinced. This is a landscape painting. Nothing will ever change my mind. I had always assumed this picture was one thing, and then sat here for an hour and looked at
it, and it changed.

19 thoughts on “Steve Martin on how to look at abstract art | MoMA BBC | THE WAY I SEE IT

  • December 9, 2019 at 4:58 pm
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    is this guy on acid?

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  • December 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm
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    Beautiful advance work of the time. Good choice. I wanted to hear the woman give some way more context and technical break down of the work.

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  • December 9, 2019 at 5:00 pm
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    Some people need to see landscapes or something, and others don't care

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  • December 9, 2019 at 5:09 pm
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    YES

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  • December 9, 2019 at 5:20 pm
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    Modern Fart!

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  • December 9, 2019 at 5:23 pm
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    I think what Steve Martin mentioned briefly is actually a very fun exercise. Next time you have a moment, go to a museum or a gallery and sit in front of a painting for at least an hour. Just one painting. Look at this painting and see how much this painting changes over time, the more you study it. Discover the strokes of the artist. Look for the colors, shapes and the story that emerges from this piece. 🙂

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  • December 9, 2019 at 5:27 pm
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    Steve Martin curated, "The Idea of North" an exhibition of paintings by Lawren Harris. https://youtu.be/b0pYgB4NyQw

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  • December 9, 2019 at 5:49 pm
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    An example of accepting the work is always open to the viewer having visions of their own in fact a good work encourages it 🌟

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  • December 9, 2019 at 6:57 pm
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    loved steve's suit. really nice colours.

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  • December 9, 2019 at 7:35 pm
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    I'm a big Stanton McDonald Wright fan (yes it's a landscape). Never heard of Morgan Russell, one to watch out for.

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  • December 9, 2019 at 7:37 pm
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    For me its a world of formes in mouvement, and thats enough to start a journey 😉

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  • December 9, 2019 at 8:31 pm
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    I ENJOY THE ODD MANIFESTO. AS FOR ART – I DO NOT COMPRHEHND ART. OTHER THAN FOLK TRYING TO REINVENT WHAT THEY EYE SEES AND WHAT IS PERCEIVED VIA THE OLD GREY MATTER…. THEY'RE ALL THEOSOPHISTS, ARE THEY NOT?

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  • December 9, 2019 at 9:16 pm
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    Artist : what you can see in this painting
    Steve Martin : HAmBurgUr

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  • December 9, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    1:26
    This so perfectly describes my thoughts about Art and Art Theory in general.
    The word 'aesthetic' poppes into my mind hearing that.

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  • December 10, 2019 at 12:34 am
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    Does Steve Martin have any expertise in this area or just his opinion?

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  • December 10, 2019 at 2:55 am
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    It always comes down to each viewers perspective in that given moment when looking at anything.

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  • December 10, 2019 at 10:26 am
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    Abstract art always has an element of Rorschach test to it. People see what they want to see in it–and that's OK.

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  • December 10, 2019 at 4:21 pm
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    Awesome Video! Would love for you guys to check out our short art doc on Alan Neider!

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  • December 10, 2019 at 6:24 pm
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    This is great. I like Steve. He is a good guy. And he comes to the altar of Art with the clean countenance of honest inquiry ! He is thoughtful and mindful. Qualities I admire. With the conversation ! He has something worthwhile to share.

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