How Do I Train My Eye For Art?

Knowing what to do in the presence of fine art is daunting.

Knowing what to think about viewing contemporary art without guidance can leave you puzzled and confused.

By writing about contemporary art, I hope to shed some light on those curious minds looking for guidance.

We live in a state whose wealth has allowed us to boast of having world-caliber contemporary art venues. Dallas has the largest contiguous urban art district in the nation.

Your first step: visit the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, or the Crow Museum of Asian Art.

Choose one of these venues and walk through it. Stop if something catches your eye. Read the explanation about it because that will bring you to the first thing you need to know about contemporary art, and any fine art discipline for that matter: You must put yourself and the work in context. When was it made? Where was it made? What was happening at the time in that location?

Museum labels are your best friends. They will tell you the name of the artist, the year the piece was made, the dimensions, and the medium (materials) that the artist used to make the work. Museums are the best place to start because their curators’ mission is to scout throughout Texas and beyond to find and bring to light art that matters.

Once your visit is over, it is time to ponder. What did you like about the work? Was it the color? The figure? The materials? The story? What resonated about the visuals with you?

Technology now is an endless source of information that, if channeled properly, will provide you with additional sources to explore more about the artist(s) that caught your attention.

The second thing to know is that the human eye can be trained not only to understand contemporary art but to discern good art from bad art.

How do I train my eye? By going and seeing art: here in Dallas, when you travel out of state and out of the country. Keep on going; keep on seeing.

While one can have an opinion or preference when facing contemporary art, refrain from judging for now and focus on your honest, visceral reactions. Be a student and be observant not only of the art but also of yourself.

So, when it comes to contemporary art:

  1. Situate yourself in context; remember who did it, when, how, where, and why.
  2. Be humble. Acknowledge what you don’t know and trust the experts. Know that you can improve over time; practice makes the eye perfect. Start your journey, go and see great art in Dallas, and find your favorite piece.
  3. Let me know how it goes and have fun!

Contact Liliana Bloch, founder and director of Liliana Bloch Gallery, 4741 Memphis St., at [email protected].

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