Modernity has afforded the artist a large degree of autonomy and creative freedom.
I stumbled upon Artbanka Musuem of Young Art (AMoYA) just as it was closing for the day. It is at an awkward intersection right after a strip of souvenir stalls and the beginning of the Charles Bridge – essentially, it is hard to miss. It was the four massive handguns suspended in the courtyard of a crumbling building that caught my friend’s eye. Intrigued, I resolved to return the following morning.
I enjoyed a last stroll down the Charles River in the morning on the way back to the museum. Cutting into the swarm of tourists, it was a relief to enter the quiet of what was formally a 17th century palace. The museum displayed student art collections from the region’s universities (Prague, Brno, and Bratislava were a few of the universities with exhibits) and is housed in the remains of the Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace. Throughout the course of the exhibit I saw a giant Jesus statue hanging from gymnastics rings, an entire room covered in grocery store advertisements, and a deer bust with massive antlers.
I think modern art scares a lot of people because it is difficult to digest. You cannot just look at a room full of hanging arrows and instantly understand its purpose or what it means. This challenge to the preconceived conceptions of “art is and is not,” is what the installations at AMoYA seek to accomplish.
After perusing the entire museum, I thought about how much I enjoyed painting even though I have not touched a paintbrush in years. While the masterpieces at The Louvre had been inspiring in that it made me want to paint again, they were also intimidating; I could not help but feel that my work would never be as good. The artwork displayed at AMoYA is a testimony to the fact that modernity has afforded the artist a large degree of autonomy and creative freedom. That freedom of creativity reminded me that art is not necessarily what has been traditionally declared “good art.” Rather, this label is at the full mercy of the person holding the paintbrush.