This picture is an edited version of Jackson Pollock’s “Convergence – 1952,” that was displayed at the St. Louis Art Museum from Oct. 19, 2008 to Jan. 11, 2009
Earlier this week I visited the St. Louis Art Museum. I went with my wife and a friend. Our friend made a comment on a recent blog wondering about my reaction to the current special exhibition at the museum. She is curious about my point of view from someone who studied mathematics and often uses his mathematical thinking when viewing the world.
The special exhibition, called Action/Abstraction, features Pollock and de Kooning. Their work, along with other featured artists, manifest the type of art that some find similar to what a monkey would do if given the opportunity to paint. In fact, there was a video running in the exhibition showing a monkey painting an abstract picture similar to some of the work shown by “human” artists.
Now, what did I think as I used my mathematical thinking? Good question. Though some of the art appeared to be “unstructured,” that did not cause conflict in my thinking. Considering that in mathematics we often use randomness, which purposely seems unstructured, I did have an appreciation for how math and the art I was viewing meshed.
On the other hand, I often found myself questioning the standards that were used in order to create the art. And, then on “even another hand,” I found many of the pieces to be beautiful and pleasing to the eye. Why, I don’t know. Something inside of me just found it to be beautiful. Beauty (art) is in the eye of the beholder?!
Perhaps reading my post on “What Is Math” will help explain how the creative thinking and critical thinking from a mathematical point of view are not in conflict with each other.
What do you think?