Thursday, January 16, 2014

Are Our Minds Wired to Enjoy Cubism?

When Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque first brought Cubism onto the modern art scene in the first decade of the 20th century, the initialreviews were mixed. Like-minded artists and art lovers embraced Cubism as a startling new way of seeing breaking violently with the representational art of the past. Many others, however, saw only madness and perhaps a little fraud in these images taking everyday objects and representing them from every angle simultaneously. Preferences for modernism or classicism certainly played a big role in responses. But what if we could wipe away those preferences? Would an unprejudiced viewer accept and maybe even enjoy Cubist paintings? A team of researchers recently tackled that question by testing whether art novices shown a series of Cubist works expressed a liking for the works and if detectablility—whether or not the viewer could visually reverse engineer the image back to its everyday source—played a role. Their results not only suggest that Cubism can be enjoyed by the novice, but that more difficult (but not too difficult) works to untangle tickle the pleasure zones of the mind. Are our minds wired to enjoy Cubism? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Are Our Minds Wired to Enjoy Cubism?"

1 comment:

Hels said...

Funny you should ask that question now :)

I went yesterday to the new MONA Gallery in Hobart where the title says Museum of Old and New Art but the actual collection is very largely new. All the young people seemed to be enjoying the modern art but most of the visitors aged over 55 were confused.

Not because our minds cannot understand cubist or abstract art but, I think, because it is utterly unfamiliar. I did a full degree in art history and know more about the 17th and 18th centuries than I do about post WW1.