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So you’re in an art gallery, staring at some piece you know fuck all about. There may or may not be colours involved, possibly a shape or two thrown in the mix, fuck maybe even a body part of some description. Some middle aged person wearing clothes that cost more than your annual rent comes up next to you and murmurs, “interesting….” There is only one way to respond — show them up with your sick knowledge you got from an overpriced education (that they probably didn’t have to pay for).
But don’t worry dummy — I’ve got you! Just link whatever you’re looking at to some music, easy as pie! Here’s a cheat sheet for all you “2 kewl 4 skool” kids out there. All you need to do is pick out a few keywords from that little piece of card or whatever it is they put next to art.
First things first, does this art in front of you look old af? You know the ones, with the tacky arse looking frames with people’s faces on it that look like an actual face. You’re probably looking at something renaissance, baroque, neoclassical, romanticist, or realist. Any of those words look familiar? Let’s be real, this is the easiest lot to pair. Just throw on some classical music, idiot! Wanna feel real smug? Pick one of those real loud ass German pieces with all the horns and call it a day. Don’t be too obvious though, pick something like Tchaikovsky 4th instead of Beethoven for christ’s sake.
No faces but a real mundane arse scene instead? Something flute-based works, try Vaughan Williams. No faces, and the scenes looking a bit more colourful? That’s postimpressionism, stupid, throw on some Leoš Janáček.
But what do you do when it all starts getting, ya know, weird? Let’s take it a step at a time, together. Are they pictures of normal things, but really off? Like a face that a 6-year old did? Then it’s probably expressionist or Fauvist. For a time-accurate piece to make you feel like a real superstar, blast some Arnold Schoenberg. You got a melting clock or some other ridiculous ass scene? Dadaism dummy. Put on your most pretentious face and listen to the old John Cage staple, 4’33”.
No normal things? Bunch of geometric shapes? You’ve got yourself some Cubism or De Stijl there probably. Techno works super well here, throw on some Brian Eno, pal. Real cartoony looking stuff? You know the ones, the soup can, the one of that woman drowning. Throw on some Devo and make a comment about commercialism in a tone that implies you’re being ironic, but also ironic about your irony.
What about if instead of shapes, there’s just a block of colour on the canvas? Probably abstract impressionism. Jump right in the deep end with some drone, listen to Earth (personally I’d go for Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version) and really just start drooling. People will know you’re a true art fan then.
You’ve got no geometric shapes, no solid colour to go off — what the fuck do you do here? Here’s where it gets a bit shaky. You’re staring at a pile of junk on the floor wondering if you should admire it, or let the gallery staff know someone’s emptied their pockets. There’s a shark cut in half that you’re walking between, a black and white photo of some rickety arse shack.
Fuck it, throw on whatever, flip the old person the bird and call it art. Vice might write about it.