White on White, Defined

A nothingness wrapped
in mediocrity owns this
wall, owns your gaze.
Mere sheets and hints
of printed words pinned
to immensity, slathered
in greater glumps of white,
but the description makes it
less as you learn the painting
somehow represents
the communities fractured
by Eisenhower’s highways.
You look at it, then back
at the description. You step
away and travel to the video-
foot exhibit—a boot decimates
pumpkin pie on a screen,
and all you can do is thank God
that there isn’t a description
for this as well.

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18 thoughts on “White on White, Defined

    • Thanks! That phrase is a summation of some information I read on a painting I saw in a museum. The painting was just a bunch of white nothingness yet somehow represented something “more.”

  1. I agree. I was once at an exhibit with an accompanying intro video in which the artist patted himself on the back for his work, because it “resists interpretation.” I’m sorry, but if it doesn’t look like much and it can’t be interpreted, what is it, exactly?

    • Probably garbage that the artist is trying to defend; if you don’t get it then it’s somehow “too deep” for you. That’s the way art goes nowadays; it’s all about how great the artist is, not about trying to communicate something to the viewer.

  2. I agree; very glad there isn’t some existential meaning behind the pumpkin pie painting! I like the natural flow of thoughts in this poem. There were so many great lines here and the very first one grabbed my attention immediately.

    • Thanks. I think there was a description for the “video-foot exhibit” but I didn’t bother looking for it. It probably mentioned how we don’t think about the mundane mechanics of everyday life, or some shit like that.

  3. As a fan of contemporary art, including post-modern and modern, I can’t say I agree with your premise. That said, I think you’ve done a fine job communicating your dislike, employing some great lines.

    • Thanks. I like some contemporary art. I like some Pollock paintings even as I think they’re lousy works of art. There’s nothing wrong with liking modern/post-modern art, it’s just the pretentiousness that is irksome to me.

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