Daily Bulletin

Modern art really isn’t my thing...I just don’t get anything from it.” Does this sound like you when someone suggests for you to go and find arts exhibition events in your local area? It’s actually quite a common response and a commonly held view that modern art is esoteric, uninspired or generally lacking in real intellectual value for most people. This is simply untrue! Your local modern art exhibits have a lot to offer all people, which is why everyone should try to make time for local art events.

1. The Value of Individual Expression

Modern art isn’t about conforming to any pre-set “mastery” or aesthetic standard, but instead finding new and innovative ways to express unusual and nebulous ideas. We have cameras for realism, but how might we express pain? Or joy? These are the new challenges that artists face, and these are the things we can learn about by visiting art exhibitions. It’s inspiring to see how people express different ideas in ways that we never expected.

2. Artistic Interpretation

Once we understand that the artists are trying to express themselves, we can tune up our own powers of interpretation. So much of modern art is left fairly open to the individual to view and respond in whatever way they want. It makes for a more unique experience than traditional art forms which are mostly very clear in what they are depicting and what emotions they hope to evoke. Modern art exhibitions challenge us to find meaning and beauty in the most seemingly unusual places.

3. Appreciation of Finer Things

When you combine the first two things that we mention above, you get a welcome bonus benefit which is the ability to appreciate more of the finer things in life. People often say that the best things in life are of an acquired taste. Modern art is no exception. At first glance, it can appear shallow or meaningless, but the reality is that it has depth that we need to learn to see and understand first. In doing so, we sophisticate ourselves in ways that are advantageous in other areas of life, too.

4. Better Health

Research done in Norway shows that there is indeed a correlation between taking part in cultural activities like modern art exhibitions and better physical and mental health. It doesn’t have to be modern art, of course, but that’s one of those activities that can help. It seems that cultural activities are linked to greater satisfaction in life, as well as lower rates of anxiety and depression, and better overall health.

Let’s be clear, visiting an art gallery isn’t going to cure you of a disease, or even magically remove a headache that you are experiencing. However, what it will do as a part of your life is bring a greater sense of contentment and happiness, which of course is linked to better health in general terms. Think of it more as a lifestyle choice than as a treatment.

5. Open-Mindedness and Empathy

Researchers at the University of Arkansas found in 2014 that students and young people displayed better critical thinking abilities, heightened tolerance and greater empathy following field trips to art galleries and art museums. Indeed, the abilities one can gain from viewing and appreciating modern art can easily translate into better empathic abilities. When you can look at art and start to imagine how the artist might have been feeling when they created that work, you can also more easily view and sense the emotions of other people in your life.

The Conversation

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