Why is Modern Art so Bad?

“The Mona Lisa”… “The Pieta”… “The Girl
with a Pearl Earring.” For a score of centuries, artists enriched Western society with their works of astonishing beauty. “The Night Watch”… “The Thinker”… “The Rocky Mountains.” Master after master, from Leonardo, to Rembrandt, to Bierstadt, produced works that inspired,
uplifted, and deepened us. And they did this by demanding of themselves the highest standards of excellence, improving upon the work of each previous generation of masters, and continuing
to aspire to the highest quality attainable. But something happened on the way to the 20th
Century. The profound, the inspiring and the beautiful were replaced by the new, the different,
and the ugly. Today the silly, the pointless, and the purely offensive are held up as the best of modern art. Michelangelo carved his “David” out of a rock.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art just offers us a rock, — a rock — all 340 tons
of it. That’s how far standards have fallen. How did this happen? How did the thousand-year
ascent towards artistic perfection and excellence die out? It didn’t. It was pushed out. Beginning in the late 19th century, a group dubbed The Impressionists rebelled against the French
Academie des Beaux Arts and its demand for classical standards. Whatever their intentions,
the new modernists sowed the seeds of aesthetic relativism — the “beauty is in the eye of
the beholder” mentality. Today everybody loves the Impressionists. And, as with most revolutions, the first generation or so produced work of genuine merit. Monet, Renoir, and Degas still maintained elements of disciplined design and execution, but with each new generation standards declined until there were no standards. All that was left
was personal expression. The great art historian Jacob Rosenberg wrote
that quality in art “is not merely a matter of personal opinion but to a high degree . . . objectively
traceable.” But the idea of a universal standard of quality in art is now usually met with strong resistance if not open ridicule. “How can art be objectively measured?” I’m
challenged. In responding, I simply point to the artistic results produced by universal
standards compared to what is produced by relativism. The former gave the world “The
Birth of Venus” and “The Dying Gaul,” while the latter has given us “The Holy Virgin Mary,”
fashioned with cow dung and pornographic images, and “Petra,” the prize-winning sculpture of
a policewoman squatting and urinating — complete with a puddle of synthetic urine. Without aesthetic standards we have no way
to determine quality or inferiority. Here’s a test I give my graduate students, all talented
and well educated. Please analyze this Jackson Pollock painting and explain why it is good. It is only after they give very eloquent answers that I inform them that the painting is actually
a close up of my studio apron. I don’t blame them; I would probably have done the same since it’s nearly impossible to differentiate between the two. “And who will determine quality?” is another
challenge I’m given. If we are to be intellectually honest, we all know of situations where professional
expertise is acknowledged and depended upon. Take figure skating in the Olympics, where
artistic excellence is judged by experts in the field. Surely we would flinch at the contestant
who indiscriminately threw himself across the ice and demanded that his routine be accepted
as being as worthy of value as that of the most disciplined skater. Not only has the quality of art diminished,
but also the subject matter has gone from the transcendent to the trashy. Where once
artists applied their talents to scenes of substance and integrity from history, literature,
religion, mythology, etc., many of today’s artists merely use their art to make statements, often for nothing more than shock value. Artists of the past also made statements at times, but never at the expense of the visual excellence of their work. It’s not only artists who are
at fault; it is equally the fault of the so-called art community: the museum heads, gallery owners,
and the critics who encourage and financially enable the production of this rubbish. It
is they who champion graffiti and call it genius, promote the scatological and call
it meaningful. It is they who, in reality, are the naked emperors of art, for who else
would spend $10 million dollars on a rock and think it is art. But why do we have to be victims of all this
bad taste? We don’t. By the art we patronize at museums or purchase
at galleries, we can make our opinions not only known but felt. An art gallery, after
all, is a business like any other. If the product doesn’t sell, it won’t be made. We
can also support organizations like The Art Renewal Center that work to restore objective
standards to the art world. And we can advocate the teaching of classical art appreciation
in our schools. Let’s celebrate what we know is good and ignore
what we know is not. By the way, the white background you see behind
me is not simply a white graphic backdrop. It is a pure white painting by noted artist
Robert Rauschenberg at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I’m Robert Florczak for Prager University.


  • pep

    THose last two pieces of art on the right demonstrated HATE, HATE and more HATE. They are America's enemy.

  • Pandora Zbocks

    White background huh… I did the same thing to the ceilings in my house. Can I become a noted artist now?

  • Liliana Gerondelis

    Well. I should sell some trash from my garbage or recycle bins and make money. It is way easier than dealing with idiots at my job. After all, even trash is art.

  • how bow dat

    Idiots will never get extinct.

  • Stephen Vojta

    You can say the same about music.

    Cardi B (cough)

  • jpalberthoward9

    ….And the village idiot shoves Beethoven off the piano stool and plays "chopsticks" with his elbows. People who praise and support this kind of fraud deserve not only it, but each other.

  • Jason Matthews

    If you as a "artist" need to explain to me why you artistic piece is good, most likely it's trash.

  • DracoLudens

    Brilliant! The 'Pollock' apron is absolutely memorable.

  • Hunter Terrell

    I mean, yes, but, you should watch this video too https://youtu.be/phYyRNrhZwc

  • AJ

    Hate you prageru hypocrites who would probably scorn at truly beautiful art from the Islamic world for instance because of your prejudice, but yeah I agree with the sentiment in this video. Truth is truth even if it comes from shoddy sources.

  • fleiteh

    I've done visual art all my life and could never really get behind modern and contemporary movement

  • Ortens Grabbar

    Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

  • Garrison Morton

    I don't have a problem with modern aesthetics per say. Bauhaus and other kinds of minimalist architecture are interesting because of their simplistic and less "noisy" aesthetic. I do however think that so called "modern art" is garbage. Cartoons, Comic books, Anime and Manga are fairly modern but they have much greater artistic value than a lot of "modern art".

  • Jose Felix

    Do you support capitalism or what? If stupid people like buying stupid stuff and somebody takes advantage of that and profits good for them.

  • Enslave The Mollusk

    This the worst video ive ever seen lol. "How do we determine what is superior or inferior without objective standards" by THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT. If something was created with the intent to trigger personal stimulation dont you think it would help to see if it relates to YOU personally as well? But you probably wouldnt, would you? Anybody working for prager U is already basically soulless so i dont see much relatability coming from them. Just cold, calculated-with-a-broken-calculator thinking.

  • Lucas Bispo dos Santos

    It all because with modern art, any garbage can be sold at a auction, by million dollars, to a anonymous buyer, with very shady business, to, you know, wash dirty money.
    Or you think drug dealers buy art because they actually like it?

  • Justice Warrior

    Liberal arts
    Once again liberalism destroys everything that touches!!!

  • Night Legend

    Society became divided with hate, and Bad Art Experience

  • Cole Wiseman

    As someone taking art I agree with this

    I once got in trouble cuz I drew Jesus’s face and that is apparently offensive

  • Max Messling

    The same is happening with cinema and tv at the moment.

  • Snapso

    If it holds a mirror up to society, it sucks

  • Faruq Chevalier

    From Transcendent to Trashendent. Humanity is regressing.

  • k

    Warhol's art is a pile of piss. Literally, one is a canvas of piss!! pathetic

  • firehawk 99

    I entered a symbolic painting of a woman in a red dress sinking to the bottom of the ocean as a representation of depression and a painting of basic geometric shapes won the contest.

  • Ryan Jensen

    My period blood paintings are art. Basically every feminazi.

  • Landon Durtschi

    This guy is such a prick. Is he really claiming that all of the art movements following impressionism are worthless? Post impressionism, fauvism, cubism, surrealism, dadaism, development of photography as an art form, etc… I cannot believe he discounts all of this. He seems jealous of Rauschenberg at the end. The way he personally calls him out. Honestly this guy is just a pathetic artist who's jealous of the genius of modern artists who were bold enough to break the rules.

  • JoshuaNW

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You cannot tell me what I have to see beauty in.
    For a channel who praises liberty, you contradict yourself quite a bit.

  • Louis Ziemmermann

    It's a PragerU video…of course it's stupid and people have no idea what they are talking about!

  • Louis Ziemmermann

    It's so sad…why don't you just trust the experts on what they consider art or not…you don't know anything about art, so please shut up!

  • Louis Ziemmermann

    Trash video!

  • Calruxio

    The only art form that has standards these days is anime.

  • corbett coburn

    I went to the modern "art" museum in DC. What amused me most was the fact that they had armed guards to keep people from stealing the rubbish on display. (And some of the "art" was literally that — rubbish thrown into a corner and called "art.") I asked one of the guards whether he thought anyone would try to steal any of the "art." He just rolled his eyes.

  • [GER] lil'sushiroll

    Magic the Gathering card designs are the real modern art!

  • just Marcin

    To my eyes, I have a very radical way to class art, first one it is fancy art (mona-lisa for exemple), second class it is street art, and the last one in the shitty category is trash (trashy art) wich is praised so much by sjws, pretty radical way to see it but to me make sure that you are in 2-first positions, if not it does not have any value to my eyes. (sorry)


    One of my friend hang himself in a modern art musem, it took one week before somebody called the police.😃

  • Arturo Perez

    This is probably the only prager u video that I think is bs. My wife is earning her masters in fine art. There's still alot of really talented artists that know there stuff. Why attack graffiti? Tagging is vandalism but a real graffiti artist is extremely talented

  • Saja


  • Abhijit Borah

    Same for music too.

  • Cleeve

    I had an internship and Syrachse University and walked past their art building everyday. Outside of it they had some "some works of art." It was a few pieces of rusted metal. What a joke.

  • Logan C

    Thank you!

  • Rainyfriday

    I mean classical art is great and all, but anime, man. Anime.

  • Fingertiple

    Art does not have to be pretty or even pleasant looking to have merit – just like there are books that are terribly haunting.
    I remember I saw once a piece that was actually a ladder, with what looked like random spots of paint on it. When you got closer you could see it was actually gemstones carved beautifully & artfully into the wood. I think and feel that piece (along with other art pieces of our time) holds a clear idea in a way that a fancy neo-classicist style piece simply couldn't.
    Some people might not get it, and most wouldn't buy it from a gallery – it doesn't mean it's worthless.

    Mostly, It's difficult to accept this criticism when it's been laid in such a broad way, ("modern art") that doesn't let anyone get more than a vague idea of the criticism's contents. I get the speaker's frustration, I've felt it myself at times. However after listening to quite a few videos here, I feel this YouTube channel would be a more honest one if they left out the "university" part of the title, until the serious claims made here would have a 60 minute talks of proper explanations to back them up. This is a great YouTube channel, and I agree with its agenda (largely). I'm glad it exists and grateful for the balance it adds to the market place of ideas. But it is just not enough to be called a university. No discussions, no depth of study, no discipline… It would be sad if this was what universities looked like.

  • Louis Muhawij

    I believe in the idea of artistic relativism but something has to be said for effort and, yes, standards.

  • Dragon Flame

    Draws bunch of scribble scrabble

    is worth a million dollars

  • Robert Litsenberger

    I have been arguing this for decades now. Modern art is garbage… sometimes litteraly….

  • The Lucky Packet

    I blame Dadaism.

  • Jonathan Njieptchi

    Modern art is bad simply because humanity is slowly going insane.

  • lego yoda

    Modern art is just professional shit posting

  • Abe Banerman

    The great artists now work in comics/concept artists for games and movies

  • Brandon Shebester

    So san francisco is just one giant scat art piece!

  • Benjamin Bradford

    As an artist I can just say, if you aren’t really good, (and I’m not talking about any “this is what I feel” kinda thing, actual quality artwork) you aren’t going to be able to get work or a job that pays anything.

  • Martin Morbello

    The [[[impressionists]]].

  • 11% creativity

    Morden art isn’t bad it just depends what you like

  • Minh-Tri Dang

    but that's just like your opinion man

  • Robbie Stones

    Wow so many dislikes… Just shows how badly we have fallen lol…

  • skysadness

    they use shit to do money laudery

  • Avocado Jelly

    Why this guy so mad when he could be glad
    – queensidilla

  • hbarudi

    Pure white painting, might as well get a canvas and sell it to them for a very high price.

  • Sean Henderson

    Why is modern art bad? It's not. Because 'bad' is used objectively. Maybe you think it's bad, maybe many do. But art isn't measured objectively. Art is a subjective matter, and what's 'bad' to one is 'good' to another. If you look for technical skill in a 'good' piece, that's totally valid and you will prefer more classical styles. But not everyone looks for technical skill as being super important in a piece. Some are content to simply interpret the emotion put into the work.

  • Vitya Stepanenco

    I am really happy that this guy teaches art.

  • Nullifidian

    PragerU: now denouncing entartete Kunst .

    On the one hand, you can trace the development of art through the increasing abstraction of the Impressionists, Fauvists, etc. and the exhaustion of realistic modes of depiction, or you could just dig in your heels and say, "It's ugly! Bah! My child could draw that!" and never engage your brain for a millisecond. It's obvious that Dennis Prager is pandering to the sort of people for whom Thomas Kinkade was the greatest painter of the last hundred years.

  • Mr. CringePants

    You're like my grammar teacher

  • Giorgio Cutugno

    If Art is objective who decides who is right?

  • Emppu T.

    Well, i think the modern maria can be considered art because it does something, even though one could argue it doesn't aesthetically please. Same for the police woman, at least it has craft put into it.
    Cand really saythe same for minimal effort made pieces like just some dung and a white board.
    And i think your apron is interesting, in a way it's involuntary art in the sense that it tells a story about how much painting was done while wearing it, possibly inspiring imagination. Not really an art per-say, but it tells about it.

  • Max Pearson

    I love how they describe the Mona Lisa as a master piece, even though no one recognised it as one until it was stolen and then found again years later. In fact, people thought so little of it that it took ages for anyone to notice it was gone, but it became one of the most famous works ever after it was returned. It's almost like art is completely subjective and our tastes aren'y informed by some almighty objective standards.

  • TrustkillProductionz

    I'll never forget visiting a new gallery in San Francisco, on opening day. The centerpiece of the main display was a pile of used tires, which someone ran around with a rattle can of neon paint, in a spiral pattern.

  • Philip Gomez

    For a nice satire on Modern Art watch 'Ghost World'. Lovely film. The tea cup found object episode is great.

  • Unknown Artist

    Am I the only one who disagrees? :/

  • Ellie Shade Arino

    Here is a painting from a local Actor turned City Mayor and now an painter in the Philippines, Literally a Giant D*ck Painting..that sells nearly $4000!!!
    here's the link :

  • Ryan Murphy

    Modern art is a critique of art itself. That became a thing with Warhol. His soup cans and Monroes were an ironic statement about the mass production of art to meet an exact standard. That, and the film "Empire", which is an 8 hour long single-take of the Empire State Building from one angle. He popularized conceptual art. He made people wonder, "Why is this art?" Nobody blames the impressionists, or Warhol, for the low quality of modern art. They innovated.

    That is what art needs to be these days to be relevant: innovative. It is not enough to masterful, because we live in the shadows of DaVince, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, and Warhol. However, the meta-analytical art that dominates today is equivalent to all the remakes of Hollywood classic movies. Warhol nailed it. Now artists are all trying hard to make soup cans.

    Not all modern art is garbage either. Banksy is brilliant. His art evolved from Warhol. It's ironic, but also subtle. It makes you look at things differently, makes statements about things that people know, but don't talk about, and it's all in the street for the public. Not to mention it's vandalism, which means just making it is against the authority who would critique it, and his persona is a mystery, which means literally anybody could be Banksy. It's just like the anonymity of your online persona. It's very exemplary of the age we live in: the age of covert expression. Everyone has something to say, and wants to represent a more reflective segment of society. Banksy is very reflective of our time. Old people don't appreciate it, of course. It's easier to just call it bad, rather than to appraise it within its own context.

  • Europa Ascends

    Modern Art is not art. It's garbage.

  • MrAstrothousand98

    Okay good. I really wasn't getting any of these modern pieces and I felt very out of the loop with sone people. So it is just scribbles and trash.

  • Trey Reidhead

    I'm gonna start sellin Rocks $$$

  • Stephen Winton

    contemporary art is garbage, fact

  • Bradley Johnson

    I am a successful professional artist with a degree in design and a very deep and specific understanding of art principles and art History. If this is what Republican's really think about art in genral, Im sorry, your ignorance is deeper than I originally thought and your future is more bleak than originally expected. What he's not telling you is that the classical artist of the day absolutely hated the impressionist like Monet and said the same things about them as the man in this video is saying about modern artists today. And if you think Banksy isn't capable of painting a piece that looks just like a DaVinci or a Vermeer today? You are truly confused. Oh, and I knew it wasn't a Jackson Pollock painting since I am an art graduate, not a student 😉

  • Rafael Maleakhi Lumban Batu

    22k modern art student cant accept the truth

  • Julius Adams

    this sucks

  • bearjew

    The Metropolitan Muesem in NY which was FREE now charges attendees who vote with their feet to come, in order to pay for about 80 other modern art institutions. Marxists don't let you vote with your feet.

  • Wolpard

    Most of these contemporary artists you're trashing do have a solid background in being able to produce photorealistic art in line with past masters. Have you seen the work Picasso produced at age 15? The issue is that once the camera came around, purely representational art was a lot less special. Why waste time only doing photorealistic art when you could produce something only art could convey? Art has always been "shocking" and often pushed societal boundaries. Today's art is no different, you're just acting the same way people did hundreds of years ago when people called early Renaissance nudes perverse.

  • Kris Poorman

    There's been shitty paintings always. This is fake news.

  • G K

    No surprise. Leftists own the arts and they stand for nothing and fall for anything. Sad, poor losers.

  • 김동영

    왜 다른사람이 말하던걸 본것같지 기억의 왜곡인가

  • Self septicon Self septicon

    At the end I thought he was taking the piss he’s was actually serious!?

  • Paulo Verissimo

    Isso e arte? De onde eu venho chamamos isso de lixo mesmo KKK.

  • Peepee Poopoo

    impressionism is a new set of rules, not shoving paint up your butthole and shitting all over a canvas

  • Shakermaker78

    Modern Architecture is even worse

  • Nicholas Marsola

    If I could dislike this video a thousand times, I would

  • Dogs And Yoga

    This video acts like this is a bad thing? It's "punk" af…

  • Dogs And Yoga

    Because doing the SAME thing over a thousand years is boring. A hundred artist (hell, even a computer) can recreate the Mona Lisa.

  • Yen

    this video has small brain energy. hope u find out how to think soon!!!

  • Dr Dre

    Look up fanart of an anime and I'm sure it's better than modern art

  • ran dom

    "art reduced to personal expression" looool
    As opposed to "art uplifted to artists painting merely for their patrons and the church".

  • The Control

    So you actually say that Warhol Kandinsky, Pollock, Dali and Picasso are trash just because they had another way and standard of beauty? You must be an idiot if you call yourself an artist.

  • Meta Ford

    "Modern artist": draw a circle and sell it for million
    Internet artist that spend hours of thier life drawing amazing fanarts hoping to be notice or resorting to draw porn to live
    Life is un fair

  • Meta Ford

    I can see how some people like "modern art"
    But the ammount of skill to re create a object, creature and human anatomy is the reason why we try to have a standard for art

  • Ezequiel Park

    This supposed objective criteria to qualify art as good is just for the sake of feeding the status quo and sustain the mythos of the dominant culture

  • Sawyer

    I have stumbled on an old one boys

  • Ryan Flaherty

    Why doesn’t he talk about how the modern art scene is nothing more than a tax break scheme for the rich. That’s probably us something to do with how “bad” modern art is.

  • Matthew Ryan

    Classical "art" declined due to the emergence of photography, the only way art was going survive was to change. Of course, you are going to have bad art with good art, the experimentation in art allows for advances to happen. Not to mention, the quality of a piece of art needs to have, is highly dependent on the group or individual the art is being for; different art, for different needs.

  • Timothy Morrison

    So, modern art is bad??


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