On art forms and hairstyles

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: February 14 2014 | 12:01 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:38 am in

By Bob Elliott


The older I get the more I find myself asking “why?” about a lot of things.

I used to wonder about the ballet requiring people to dance on their tip toes. Why not just hire taller dancers? Or why didn’t Leonardo da Vinci put eyebrows on the Mona Lisa? Or for making tea, why heat to make it hot, ice to make it cold, lemon to make it sour, and sugar to make it sweet?

Today I’m giving up on those burning issues, and moving on to concerns about, first, Pollock’s “Mural” and, second, contemporary female hair styles.

That painting: The huge “Mural” by Jackson Pollock has been in the news here off and on for several years. Art lovers call it a timeless classic, and an artistic masterpiece. Owned by the University of Iowa, it’s insured for $140 million, and considered one of the most important American paintings of the 20th century.

The painting is more than 8 feet high and nearly 20 feet long. Yes, I know it’s art. More than 160 square feet of art. But for me, it’s just God-awful ... looks like Walt Disney threw up.

Clearly, paintings and other visual art aren’t my strong point. I’m not sure I have a strong point. The only art form I think I understand is jazz. It’s the only art form that originated in this country.

So let me take a stab at explaining why I think paintings and music illustrate that the beauty of art remains firmly in the eyes and/or ears of the beholder.

For instance, let’s consider what could be comparable examples of 20th century audio and visual art. If Pollock’s “Mural” is an artistic painting classic, then surely Benny Goodman’s band performing “Sing, Sing, Sing” at the 1938 Carnegie Hall concert was an artistic jazz classic.

I assume there are informed art lovers who probably feel the same way about listening to a recording of Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” as I do about looking at Pollock’s “Mural.”

As I said, eyes and ears of the beholder.

Those hair styles: I guess someone decided it’s stylish, but I sure don’t understand why so many women these days believe they look better with a shock of hair covering all or portions of one of their eyes.

You see ’em everywhere, attractive women with hair falling over one of their eyes. Some just leave it there, while others periodically get it out of their eye with their hand or a toss of their head.

I find it hard to believe it’s not frustrating to have your hair intentionally styled to cover one of your eyes, certainly hampering your peripheral vision, and worse.

I’d compare it to a lot of the young guys we used to see walking around with jeans hanging down below their rear ends. Some had to walk with their hands holding up their pants to keep to keep ’em from falling down around their ankles.

I guess that was (or perhaps still is) considered cool or stylish, just like those eye-covering hair styles. But when you get old enough, it’s just not worth the effort to look that cool or that stylish. It’s easier to just to keep the hair out of your eyes and your pants around your waist. That’s my prejudice.


Bob Elliott is a longtime Iowa City resident. Comments: elliottb53@aol.com

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