To the everyday person, the thought of a blank white canvas being considered modern art can seem a little bit strange. After all, can’t you just go to your local craft store and pick up a canvas with nothing on it and achieve the same effect? Why, then, are artists who create these pieces considered artistic masterminds?
In most cases, what it really comes down to is the technique that was used to create the canvas. Although these canvases may look as if they have nothing done to them, in most cases, something actually has been done. For instance, the artist may have applied multiple layers of white paint to achieve a certain effect.
In one famous example, an Italian artist named Gianni Motti used disappearing ink when creating his artwork. As a result, the image was only visible while he was actually painting it. As he worked, the ink disappeared, leaving behind a blank white canvas. These types of pieces are more about the process of creating the art than they are about the art itself.
Throughout the years, artists have used similar concepts to create their artwork. One of the most famous examples is Andy Warhol’s piece titled Invisible Sculpture. To create the piece, the artist simply stepped onto a plinth and stood there for a moment. He then stepped away and the work was finished. When viewing the piece today, all you will see is the plinth with nothing on it. The idea behind the piece was that it was meant to capture the artist’s aura.
Most pieces that fall into this category are quite conceptual. They are more about the idea behind the art than the art itself. What leaves most people stumped, however, is why anyone would pay a lot of money for one of these pieces. In recent years, blank white canvases have sold for millions of dollars. It is difficult to understand what would drive someone to fork over that kind of money for a piece of art that looks as if anyone could have made it. What it really boils down to is that these art collectors are more interested in the process that the artist used rather than the finished piece of art itself.
Oftentimes, galleries put on shows featuring nothing but white canvases that were created by a variety of different artists. Going to one of these shows can seem like an exercise in futility. As you walk from one canvas to the next, all that you will see is white staring back at you. However, once you learn the story behind each piece, it will quickly become apparent that each artist had their own unique idea when creating their work. These ideas are what make the pieces art rather than simply blank canvases.
The world of modern art is filled with similar examples. To someone who is not familiar with the art, it can seem like the strangest pieces get the most attention while artists who are truly talented get overlooked. However, what you need to understand is that modern art is often more about the techniques and ideas that the artist used in the creative process rather than the finished piece that they came up with.
Most modern art is meant to make you think. Unlike representational art or other more popular types of art, it is not something that everyone understands. However, people who are interested in how artists come up with their ideas and how they work tend to gravitate toward modern art, simply for the fact that these pieces often highlight the artist and their ideas as much as the finished work.
Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of how blank white canvases could actually be considered modern art. Although it is not an easy concept to grasp, once you understand that the focus of these pieces is more about the artist rather than the artwork, it becomes a little bit easier to see why people appreciate these works. Although you may never truly understand why someone would be willing to pay millions of dollars for a blank canvas, at least you may be able to appreciate the thought and creativity that the artists put into the work.