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  • Lea Springstead

Tending to The Importance of Open-Mindedness

Updated: Sep 21, 2019

We all have an opinion about what art is, but within introspection of our theories, clearly there are flaws, inconsistencies, and contradictions. Such is the nature of light reflected within the critical lens of humanity, no matter the context.


It seems many modern individuals have taken for granted the long arc of the art revolution of the 20th century, and have curiously peddled backwards into a more so Victorian perception of what constitutes art.


Fascists claims that if something isn’t considered imperially beautiful then it cannot be considered art. Or if technique is not immediately recognizable as a skillful application, then it is inferior and therefore not art.


Where are these opinions coming from? Is the default status of the human mind one of narrow mindedness? Or has our cultural worship of superficiality saturated the tissue of people’s cerebral cortex enough to prevent the deeper exploration of the moment, that is required to actually think about and explore art? Or is the collective ego reaching a fever pitch, denying anything that does not bow down to the established illusions of the material world and thus the structural reinforcements of the ego?


Facing the possibility of consciousness de-evolution and the re-emergence of a popular archaic perception of art, I think it is important to ask these questions.


Richie Culver recently posted a photo on Instagram of a large white canvas with the words “DID U CUM YET” crudely painted on it. Three or four black paint scribbles were placed on the right side of the canvas. The canvas was placed in front of a white wall, towards the corner of the room. A window to the right of the canvas, multi-colored spray paint on and below the window sill. A folding wooden chair in front of the canvas. Light grey, sheet linoleum floor.


The artist’s original post said that the piece is not for sale.


The account "abstract.mag" re-posted Culver’s original post, and 587 comments later it seems that most Instagramers were utterly offended by the piece.


I am reminded of a scene in the film "Pleasantville", when Bill (the proprietor of the local burger joint) paints a nude abstract mural of David’s mom on his store front window. The town-folk are enraged by the uninhibited display of profanity. Consumed by rage, someone picks up a rock and throws it at the painted window, then everyone else joins in and rioting ensues. Bill’s painting was what you could consider sanctioned beauty: it’s flowing abstract impressionist use of color and form, the placement of pastries and sweets around the erotic image of a culturally agreed upon beautiful woman.


So drawing a slimily between Richie Culver’s “DID U CUM YET” piece and Bill’s riot inciting abstract impressionist nude immediately creates a problem.


But I am not comparing their aesthetic, why would I? Rather I am comparing the respective crowd’s reaction in both circumstances.


The top comment on Culver’s piece is “this is pure crap”, followed by things like “go fuck your stupid art. Seriously though.”, and “I’d personally like to squat and take a shit on it i think it might improve the quality of this art” (text was copied verbatim) and so on.


Why were most people who commented on this post enraged by it’s existence?


While insults were in no short supply, explanations were not.


I was surprised that out of all of the comments that I had read, not one had bothered to attempt to take a deeper look at the piece. Maybe the lack of meaningful analysis comes with the territory, this is Instagram after all, I am not standing in MOMA listening to the conversation of strangers. But maybe one day that will be the case, in which that is my cue to move to Europe.


Richie Culver’s crudely yet purposefully illustrated question succinctly points out the perversion of compulsory sex. Sex not for the sake of passion, nor exploration, nor love, but sex for the sake of getting off, like a junky shooting up for the sake of getting high.


Black paint half-heartedly scrawled on a canvas expeditiously demonstrates and delivers this concept; finding a more “artful” way to illustrate this concept would detract from the meaning of the message and make the pieces less impactful.


Culver's work delivers an accurate assessment of many individual's relationship with sex, which in-turn is an assessment of our society's overall mental health.


This and other interpretations of Culver’s piece lay just outside of one’s initial perception of the piece.




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