Modern Art


Modern Art - (2009)    

Gary Bachlund

for medium voice and piano


I think about me,
And sing about me,
And celebrate me, me, me,
And obsess on me.
I'm pretty, you see,
So your galaxy
Must spin around me
And my gravity.
It's me must be
Your color TV,
So look upon me
And then magnify me
And focus on me;
And me, me, me
And my absurdity.

[ 4 pages, circa 1' 50" ]

Tabula rasa or White on White?


Is all modern art equal? Are art works equal? Are media equal? The notion of modern art, as was represented to me during my early and some continuing education, as an approved aesthetic placed in opposition to an aesthetic which an academic authority deemed as inauthentic has struck me as a ironic comedy, in which the authority seeks to celebrate "me" by which the real meaning behind the pronoun "me" becomes "my authority." I have been long uninterested in obeisance to authority, and find the shifting sands of politics and art most amusing as "question authority" has the underling meaning of "question some authority, but not mine."


Art, as I suggested in my essay, On Government and Art, Thoughts on Control and the Place of Art in Resisting Authority  , sometimes yield to such a stance, a stance not representative of artistic integrity and independent thinking. Much seems often like toadying to some dominant yet ultimately changing ethos, aesthetic or political correctness.


In a piece of performance art some years back, a performance artist played the part of a television, in which the entire message consisted of "me," "notice me" and so on, to illustrate the notion of the "boob tube." Is it not the same as modern marketing seeks to convince a populace of art deemed "authentic" while rejecting through negative marketing of other art deemed "inauthentic." This is not a stance which the pursuit of art can justify. What seems certain from my reading and study is that artists often lose themselves during the act of creating, regardless of the medium in which they work. Thus "me" seems more an absurdity when I think about various media and work within them. For this I also penned the little editorial verse, Critics, wherein I ask, "Who cares tomorrow for the noise / That critics make today?" Authorities speaking about art are, of course, so often merely manipulative critics in another guise.



The diatonic chord clusters of the right hand are opposed by a popular-styled bass line as the accompaniment to a standard, ballad-like vocal line. The form is a simple verse structure with an accelerating codetta as "a cherry on top of the fudge sundae." It is meant as a serious spoof on those artists, authorities and critics whose most prominent word about art is found to be "me."



The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


Modern Art