Remember when I wrote about the uselessness of subjective declarations of artistic taste?
Even so, my readers might find it helpful to know what sort of art jostles the most thoughts from my noggin, a preference that harkens back to my self-devised role as a provider of frameworks.
If the most interesting question to be asked about a piece of art is whether or not you liked it, then I’ll probably gravitate towards different art that demands you to decide what you think the piece is about, and what aspects of the piece make you think it’s about that? In other words: why is it made in the way that it’s made?
Needless to say, plot-centric art results in the least compelling answers to these questions. It’s easier to make sense of art when the story’s operating, organizing principle adheres to a logical unfolding, following the traditional “This happens, SO THEN this happens, SO THEN this happens, so on and so forth.” A leads to B, which leads to C, which leads to D, with a straightforward causal relationship between each of these narrative events, with no explanation required to understand the order of what we’re consuming.
My brand of art revels in more abstract, even episodic storytelling: every moment, every artistic decision adds a new dimension to what the piece might be about. At the end, it’s up to us to tie these dimensions together into some sort of cohesive conception of the whole. Instead of “this happens, SO THEN this happens”, it becomes “this happens, AND THEN this happens.” What governs each and every one of these “ands”? The art abides by its own logic, and the fun is in deciphering the key for ourselves.
My favorite art inspires me to actively wrestle with what the fuck is going on throughout, to the point where I can’t even begin to consider whether or not I “like” what’s in front of me. The art’s so enigmatic and elusive, clearly stylish but subtle in terms of what possible ends the style is being deployed to achieve, I spend much of the duration in a state of quizzical bliss.
I’m basically unsure what I think of the overall until it’s over. And even then, I sometimes don’t know.
And that’s how I “like” it.