How to Be an Artist, According to Wassily Kandinsky

Lesson #2. Don’t paint things. Paint in abstract form.

Don’t paint things, but rather paint in abstract form, the editorial by Rachel Lebonwitz went on to say, “Monet’s now -iconic haystacks were an early influence on Kandinsky, who was struck by his own inability to identify the real world objects that the forms referenced. At first taken aback by this disconnect,” which I must admit I too have been taken aback, “Kandinsky soon embraced its possibilities, eventually insisting upon art that was not only abstracted but entirely non-representational.” And again Rachel Lebonwitz refers to the artists interior world, as if that world was an abstract form, that perhaps is “simpler” or different than the real world. Perhaps more imaginary and “non-representational.”

At the time that Kandinsky painted, his ideas created change in how one thinks about art. His works and ideas were revolutionary. But now because his thoughts have become common place, and abstract works are indeed “non-representational” and indeed do not represent even simple forms. I find it hard to call this kind of work “art.” There needs to be some some connection to reality – abstract works that represent nothing, cannot be art, as they are nothing. If even the simpliest forms represent something to the artist or the viewer then there is content and perhaps meaning and some value to the work which “might” be eventually be called “art.”