Art I Can’t Show You


[Intro] The famous art dealer Arne Glimcher tells this story about the American artist Agnes Martin He says that once his 11 years old granddaughter Isabelle was visiting Martin and the little girl was holding on to a rose clipped from a bush outside of Martin’s house. Agnes Martin took the rose and said to the girl “Is this rose really beautiful?” And Isabelle said “Yes.” and then Agnes Martin hid the rose behind her back and said “Is the rose still beautiful?” “Yes.” said Isabelle, and then Agnes Martin said “You see, Isabelle. Beauty is in your mind, not in the rose. Today I want to tell you about this group of 6 Agnes Martin paintings called called “With My Back to the World” that Martin painted in 1997 near the end of her life. Martin often spoke about painting with her back to the world. She said she was not trying to paint anything of or from the world but was instead trying to paint inspiration itself, emotion itself. When I first saw these paintings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, I was so moved by them that I started crying. Which is weird because the paintings themselves are just horizontal bands of faint color Pastel pinks and yellows and blues. In some cases, the colors are barely visible. The paintings, sixty inches square look like almost nothing. Okay so some art is as moving in replica as it is in person like seeing the Mona Lisa under glass while being jostled by hundreds of other people trying to see the Mona Lisa is not, at least in my experience more profound than looking carefully at a good reproduction of the Mona Lisa. but “With My Back to the World” losses everything in the replication of it . You would see nothing but bands of pastel paint. They’re incredibly quiet paintings, and this is a deeply unquiet visual space. So, I’m not even gonna try. You can google them if you want. Instead, I’m going to try to share these paintings with you by sharing how they made me feel.
Agnes Martin once said that “From music people accept pure emotion. But from art they demand explanation.”

100 comments

  • Sean Bieri

    Reminds me of something John Berger said: "“We who draw do so not only to make something visible to others, but also to accompany something invisible to its incalculable destination.”

    Reply
  • S. Gillespie

    There may be a reason they can't be painted or they're not made visible…it's like painting the wetness of water without painting water! I appreciate the thought she put in her work but her quotes exemplify that better than the art

    Reply
  • Alina Nechiporenko

    Well buying that kind of art is pretty useless, you’re literally paying for a story that you can read for free.

    Reply
  • Adrian Michael Kelly

    I had never heard of Agnes Martin or her work until I was lucky enough to come upon it in a quiet, unpeopled back room on an upper floor of the astounding SF MOMA. I took a seat, and spent several minutes gazing at each of the six or so paintings in the room. Having already been astonished by the Kiefers and the Polkes in other rooms, I wasn't expecting much. Indeed, I asked nothing of the paintings, thinking I had perhaps reached aesthetic supersaturation. But–softly, beautifully–they overcame me. I was flooded with relief, bliss, lightness, a sense of all-is-right-ness. Never have I had a museum-going experience like it. And I feel lucky. I feel blessed to have come upon those works. Seek them out. Sit. Clear your mind of chatter. And look.

    Reply
  • CheesyQuokka YT

    cool

    Reply
  • Mathew Omolo

    I am starting to think that your art cant be fully appreciated if you live a boring, straight forward good life.

    Reply
  • turd ferguson

    the same guy who would cry over a shit streak on a wall if it belonged to Van Gogh or someone else famous that he read about

    Reply
  • De Cnijf Kris

    You said that good.

    Reply
  • Mr Orange

    IS THIS JOHN GREENE

    Reply
  • Joana Sofia

    He sounds so pretentious when he said that cried at those paintings oh my god

    Reply
  • alexnobody1

    This is about as far from what I like as physically possible. Emotion without context, emotion itself, devoid of limiting symbols…. I prefer the context. "Transcendent" is the opposite of me, in a way. I prefer emotion with context, feelings that belong to a person, for a reason, in a particular point in time and space. Without context, nothing has any meaning.

    And as said: Martin's paintings do require context, to be of any interest. Without seeing which feeling each work represents, and knowing what Martin was trying to do when she painted them, they are without meaning.

    Reply
  • Joshua Boylan

    I wonder if there’s synesthesia for feelings, like if you feel something you can see that thing.

    Reply
  • E

    I'm sorry but how the fuck do you cry at stripes

    Reply
  • Chlopaczek Hula

    I don’t particularly enjoy modern art becouse if I look at a painting made by an artist that I don’t know I feel nothing or very little but once I know the story behind the artist and their lives or what it’s supposed to represent I start to feel something maybe those scaffoldings are supposed to represent the artists life falling apart (this is an example I made up) but if I need context to understand the painting then I feel like it defeats the purpose I think that modern art is supposed to create pure emotion in someone whiel not distracting them with context of what’s shown on the painting while in more realistic artworks I see the lines the objects essentially I know the context of what’s happening and what it’s supposed to show and once I understand it I feel the emotion to me modern art is like reading a beautiful poem but in a different language it may be beautiful but I don’t know that. I really enjoy some of Picasso artworks just because to me they are realism pushed to the extreme and I think it’s on the fine line where there is just enough context in the piece to understand it while showing emotions not distracted by context or realism but then again it’s just my opinion

    Reply
  • Ronney Rendon

    That was beautiful. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Destinee Adams

    “Emotions without cause” I like that one

    Reply
  • House of the Rising Sun

    Call me weird if you will, but when I look at Van Gogh's Night Stars I feel tremendous emotion. When I look at a canvas full of nothing more than lines and dots I feel nothing.

    Reply
  • House of the Rising Sun

    I disagree. The beauty is in the rose. I know this because I see it. If you hide the rose, beauty is still in the rose I know this because I already saw it and I remember seeing it. I perceive it as beautiful because it is.

    Reply
  • quan

    i love her quotes; not a huge fan of the art but i understand why someone would be

    Reply
  • xoox

    yeah because you already know what a rose looks like…

    Reply
  • Bill Cipher

    Nakey rose, had to sensor it

    Reply
  • Boku No Anime Theories

    My names Isabelle—

    Reply
  • Simon

    Did you feel that emotion before knowing about her or the art? Did you read the text next to the pieces beforehand? You could have just been feeling emotional beforehand about something else completely and could have cried sitting and looking at the building surrounding the art or the skies outside. I love art and hate art. I love producing it and hate having to explain my art. The explanation is all marketing.

    Reply
  • Blame David

    Bruh

    Reply
  • Dave Strider

    NOCE

    Reply
  • Katja Hills

    Wow, I bet you have lots of friends. 🙄

    Reply
  • papyrus_wiping_his_head_with_spaghetti. png

    This reminds me of that episode of pokemon, where, a smeargle paints a abstract picture that evoked emotion in you, but when you looked at a photo of it, it just didn't convey the same emotions, just like Agnes' paintings.

    Reply
  • Ghost wizard

    Don't fucking show me then

    Reply
  • Hunter Terrell

    OK, im not gonna lie, I always pissed on modern abstract art, the blank canvas and the jar of urine, However, this video has been a rock in my shoe for the last week or so, and I really appreciate it, forcing me to re-evaluate art that lacks traditional technical proficiency. Maybe just because it's simple, or random, doesn't mean that it can't be beautiful.

    Reply
  • Screaming_bean

    Ima Binge your chanel soon because I have an art history exam sometime soon and I feel you will prepare me well enough.

    Reply
  • Philip Gomez

    Unbelievable… since when do emotions looks like anything?

    Reply
  • Jerry Ku

    Why

    Reply
  • Sigh Phi Guy

    i dont need art explained to me.
    i either like it or i dont.
    an explanation wont change that.

    Reply
  • Grizzlytoof

    I don’t get it.

    Reply
  • yim0Skyz ART

    Baby boomer cried over a almost white canvas.

    Reply
  • Paul Martinez

    she was part of 'are we cool yet'!

    Reply
  • Ase AlDenmogd

    this is stupid honestly, lines are nothing but stupid lines it dose not mean anything if i had chance i would burn those papers because it anger me how anyone like it while true art is not loved that much, imges is important because no one but delusional "artists" will but meaning to the meanings in there mind its funny how any one can see in shred of anything in black or white empty painting stand its worthless and i am sad that some people studing art are seriously in deep daniel about that

    Reply
  • Doughan

    Who didnt finish the english captions?

    Reply
  • Putrid Abomination

    So lazy art

    Reply
  • Bee

    This has been on my recommended for months, so I’m finally here

    Reply
  • Matthew Antosh

    Seems to me that Anges Martins is Russian suprematism removed from radical context and made easy for American consumerism.

    Reply
  • Syno Nymous

    Agnes Martin seems like a really cross, stern auntie.

    Reply
  • Benjamin Shields

    The first explanation of beauty is poetic as fuck

    Reply
  • kepler_000

    I guess when something requires that actual amount of explanation, especially when it comes to art and paintings, it's not really that big deal. These paintings inspire nothing at all. Seriously, my 2 and a half years old niece can emulate almost each and every one of those paintings. Easily!

    Reply
  • Meat Chip

    Why are we talling about these paintings like they are good

    Reply
  • xDolphin

    TAA: This picture in the modern art museum is so beautiful i started crying!
    Me: ITS DOTS AND LINES WHAT THE SHIT

    Reply
  • radchoco

    I'm 600 years old and this is deep

    Reply
  • Squawk7700

    It's the kind of art you like to show others how much you like art.

    Reply
  • SuggBoat

    haha he cried!

    Reply
  • Pat Strong

    She reminds me of a happier Rothko

    Reply
  • Fernando Cortés Macías

    Esto es hamparte y no transmite nada

    Reply
  • Hypster

    "Modern art" is a joke.

    Reply
  • Evropa Nazione

    This is social Degeneration.

    Reply
  • Afternoon Moss

    This reminds me of a very different painter Zdzisław Beksiński who’s paintings I’ve seen recently in real life, and as impressive they can look with intricate details and vivid colours seeing them in person made me connect with each one on an emotional level that pushed tears into my eyes. It was as if all the emotions that consumed the artist when he was creating were captured by the painting and experiencing (the painting) made you live those emotions once again.

    Reply
  • Ganon God

    I do not enjoy these paintings

    Reply
  • Mayonnaise Moose

    they are just minimalist bullshit art. this is why i hate society. Millions? jfc

    Reply
  • Sk. Sabit Faisal

    why youtube recommending these deep shit, i'm here to see weed plants and growing them

    Reply
  • The God Emperor of Mankind

    When I see modern "art" all I feel is boredom, the story behind them is more interesting but the "art" itself is inconsequential and not worth the praise

    Reply
  • Jeff Santos

    Imagine crying over a few beige lines on a blank canvas…

    Reply
  • TheBeastpower 2

    So music?

    Reply
  • I. L.

    This is all bullshit lol. You're all either stupid or willfully lying if you call this garbage "art"

    Reply
  • Mabel Pines

    This dude seriously looked at a white piece of paper and started crying

    Reply
  • Wingwisher

    I didn't really understand minimalist paintings before watching this video, and then Faraway Love flashed up on screen, and I understood it without even reading the name, it was how I feel about my girlfriend spilled out across the canvas

    Reply
  • Evan Gao

    Idk about you people but all I see is a bird’s eye view of a carpet

    Reply
  • Texadon the Blue Kitty

    I expected this to be about copyright laws and I am MOST pleasantly surprised.

    Reply
  • Fishmaster 32

    DEEP

    Reply
  • UnitSe7en

    As an example, when I look at the piece titled "White Flower", what I see is reminiscent of a computer. I see technology, and I, too, could wax philosophical on its meaning. But, I'm certain, based on the rest of this video, that this is not what Agnes was painting about. So, the question, Mr. Green, is did she fail? Did she fail in her effort to transfer these small emotions to others? Is she a failure as an artist, or by any other metric? Or is that the real problem with modern art? Abstracted from any form, it's meaning as intended can only be conveyed accurately by the title given to it by the artist. Agnes certainly didn't fail to express her own emotions, but I do not believe that you, nor anyone else, could share in those through her images alone. You are fooling yourself if you believe that it is the images that evoke these emotions in yourself. It is all in your own head, Mr. Green. All in your own head, sir.

    Reply
  • Mujtaba Rafid Ibrahim

    Modern art is so much bullshit it's astounding.

    Reply
  • Lagg field

    666 coments

    Reply
  • Kat F

    My biggest gripe is his admiration for the paintings and claiming “art like this shouldn’t need an explanation”. If I were to see these in a museum with the name “Agnes Martin” and had never seen this video, I’d be unbelievably bored. Most likely skipping the exhibit entirely. Now that I know who she is, a peaceful schizophrenic interesting person, I am much more interested. Yes. Art needs explanation, always.

    Reply
  • Slappy

    The difference between art and garbage is pretense.

    Modern art is all pretense.

    Reply
  • Snowwybubble

    Lines

    People: wow so deep and amazing

    Reply
  • Dogma

    I think it is weird you cried at a bunch of bland paintings.

    Reply
  • Cockyoin

    Back to 「ZA WARUDO」

    Reply
  • Leo Leo

    Art is nothing anymore. How can you cry at lines of pink? Meaningless.

    Reply
  • Romantic Outlaw

    not knowing anything about the artist and deliberately not reading the titles of the pieces, I felt nothing. Only with the context behind them did I start to go "yeah, I get how that feeling could be evoked by this". I think such minimalist art doesn't speak for itself loudly enough to avoid the demand for an explanation. I can look at the melting clocks or swirling skies of classical paintings and it requires no explanation, they evoke by the context the piece itself provides. These? I'd need the same level of context to "get" noise music and freeform jazz as I would these

    Reply
  • Alex A

    I don't feel anything while looking at this "art". I feel things when I stare at something that is beyond my level, get to admire it and actually care for it, something that is worth something on its own, like insanely realistic drawings that were just thought up and made, scenes that motivate me and give me a glimpse into another universe. This "art" is not a display of skill or talent or pretty much anything extraordinary that would get me hooked (except if it was stuff like a billion pins that were hand placed to form a picture or something, that would just be pure determination). The beauty here is her mind. Not her art, in my opinion. Staring at drawn lines is staring at drawn lines, slapping a meaning onto that or having to know the artist and their story in order to appreciate something I myself can do currently without putting extra meaning onto it doesn't make the lines anything more.
    Again, an opinion.

    Reply
  • KitkatKate

    i dont feel anything when i look at art
    is that normal

    Reply
  • Antena Zbiorcza

    Now I understand it…I've just started to cry (in the fourth minute of your video)…because I've just found the title for 'Untitled number 5'. It is 'Pulsating warmth'

    Reply
  • Sam _

    I wish I could appreciate stuff like this, even when going to galleries in person, pieces like these are just…there. I always go in with an open, even blank mind, but they never do anything for me.

    Give me a good landscape any day (if real) it's the next best thing to seeing the beauty of the place in person, it can add an extra layer of appreciation by thinking of the time and skill needed to create such a piece, and if the place isn't real then it shows creativity.

    Reply
  • pupypup

    0:34 what? that doesnt make any sense.
    id respond "i cant tell because i can no longer see it, though i assume nothing has changed it so, likely yes"
    its not so simple. say something happened to the rose, now its not beautiful, all behind his back.
    0:58 that doesnt make any sense. You cant just paint emotion, you take inspiration from something in reality. if its just faint lines then your inspiration was essential, the pains you chose, and horizontal lines.
    1:07 it is weird. you make no sense.
    2:05 thats because music isnt drawing. drawing is visual, something you see. Music is just sound, something you hear. People expect music to sound good. People expect art to look good. Sounding good doesnt require it to mean anything. Looking good, a lot of the time, does.
    2:25 just the type of person i would expect to not make sense.
    3:12 so she just abstracted trees. she took the shape she saw, that being lines… and drew it. she drew from life even if that isnt recognizable in the final piece. thats just a pretentious way of describing it.
    3:35 yes because innocense is not a visual concept, it can only be expressed visually through symbols. Nor is it an auditorial concept. Its not something you can re-create itself.
    4:00 emotion isnt visual. wanting to paint emotion itself is pretentious and dumb.
    5:10 hmm so she cant communicate well. i understand i have trouble with communication myself. this comment probably doesnt get my point across. My point here, is this quote is just a prettyed up way to say "i dont sacrifice my happiness." she seem to know how to say it concisely, so like someone who doesnt know English well calling an egg a "chicken seed", she describes her emotions in overly complicated ways to the point where you have to kind of get what shes saying rather than intuitively know what shes saying. Its a kind of emotional illiteracy.

    Reply
  • William Davis

    what if this is just a trick to make us go and see the real ones?

    Reply
  • Clorox Gaming

    Oh… ok

    Reply
  • Greg Donovan

    Is this John green

    Reply
  • Crab

    Dont worry i like being teased

    Reply
  • Crab

    My dude cried at Wheres Waldos shirt

    Reply
  • Nautical Ninja

    What the hell

    Reply
  • im joe

    people saying they find more emotion in modern art or saying they find more emotion in traditional art, but like am i the only one who finds no emotion in art, yeah sure some art looks dope to me but i don’t see these boring ass explanations behind them, like i’m sorry but a yellow square in another white square doesn’t make me feel anything nor does looking a someone’s rendition of a starry night or a random girl no one knew

    Reply
  • bonkybonk _ow

    in art , the rule is mostly show not tell, and i ain't seeing anyhing without you telling.

    Reply
  • Samuel Huh

    the pre-acquired knowledge affects you. then it causes some emotions. in this case you'd get emotional even if you look at a dog shit with a tag saying "the last poop of very faithful golden retriever's which died from a tragic car accident". . so can I still call it an art, because it caused some feeling?

    Reply
  • Etherix

    blind people must love this type of art

    Reply
  • Pineapple Man

    I can make millions by scribbling on a piece of paper and call it art.

    Reply
  • Yoshimasa Chong

    well shit you showed it anyways

    Reply
  • The Best Fox Girl

    The intro has
    -flowers
    -art
    -galleries
    -beauty

    Giving me Ib vibes

    Reply
  • NB

    THIS DUDE CRIED AT A WHITE BLOCK LMAOOOOOOOOOOO

    Reply
  • Dizer Done

    man cried over a line, weird

    Reply
  • Candle Lynx

    I like this a lot, i see the world in a different way because of how my brain works and i really understand this and feel it

    Reply
  • Lolice Chief Tiger

    you know what i see it as? When you have your back turned and no information is coming in you can only think really dumb basic things. information is important the most important so yeah she was kinda ehhh

    Reply
  • Naief Alromi

    I can't see the emotions , I don't think I'm artsy enough lol , well I really hope I learn to get it haha 🙂

    Reply
  • pedroacostacombr

    WOW!!!

    Reply

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