Dear Bryan,

I like art.  But I just don’t get modern stuff at all.  Take installation art. Now, that stuff looks down right weird. Is it supposed to look that way?

Last week I had a cabinet maker that come to install new cabinets in my trailer. They look real beautiful. Now, to me that’s art. But maybe I’m confused.  Is my cabinet maker an installation artist? 

I hope you can clear this up for me.


Wanda Owens

Fingerville, SC



Dear Wanda, 

You are not alone.  Artists today often make work that most people wouldn’t understand without some explanation – if not a fine arts education.  In other words, they are making work for less than 5% of the population.  The ideas behind the work have become more important than whether the work is, in fact, beautiful.  

About your cabinet maker:  if you didn’t feel compelled to ask him the real meaning of his work, then he’s probably not an installation artist.  On the other hand, he could easily morph into one by ripping your cabinets out of the wall and putting them into a gallery exhibition along with a proper statement.   The artist might even go as far as to make a reproduction of your trailer.  Follow?  If not, read up on Marcel Duchamp.  He’s the guy who started all of this by putting a urnial in the Louvre and calling it art.  Basically art was whatever he designated as such.  Anything goes.


Bryan Hiott

New York, NY


P.S.  It’s entirely possible that your cabinets are more beautiful than the work you might find in some galleries and at just a fraction of the cost.