The following is an excerpt from an email I wrote this evening to my friend Quatorze (who is passionate about modern art). I thought I'd post this to see if anyone else has thoughts on the matter:
In a 202 class tonight, the instructor was lecturing on Malevich and Suprematism. Several people starting speaking up and saying, "That's not art - I could do that!" and all of the other ridiculous comments that come along when 20th century art is discussed.
The thing that made me most frustrated was that these students didn't appear to listen as Angela tried to explain the meaning and purpose behind works like "Airplane Flying." Their comments were rude and attitudes were obstinate. When Angela (the teacher) changed the slide to another Malevich work (are you familiar with "White on White?"), about 20 people in the class had the gall to laugh out loud (meaning that they thought it was comical that such a work could be considered art).
I was livid. Sometimes I wonder if this close-minded attitude towards modern art is a product of Mormon culture - doesn't it seem like the general LDS population favors a photorealist (e.g. Simon Dewey, Greg Olsen, etc.) or impressionistic aesthetic? I wonder if this aesthetic preference has been imposed by the art the Church endorses or if most people outside the Church maintain this same attitude towards modernism...