Why Is Modern Art Absolute Trash?

Why Is Modern Art Considered To Be Utter Garbage?

Modern Art is often difficult to understand and considered trash when compared to other styles of art. Because of the departure of conventional styles, Contemporary Art becomes more difficult to understand. It is challenging to interpret what the artist envisioned when looking at abstract objects or lines on a plane. Plus, some Contemporary artists often are just clowning around.

If you have not noticed, I have been referring to Modern Art and Contemporary Art as one. For this article, Modern Art and Contemporary Art are the same. Scholars and students usually call this out and go by their respective accurate definitions. But since I wrote this article for the general population, I have made no distinctions.

Modern Art Hidden Meaning Translates To Trash

When is Modern Art Trash?

Before we get into modern art hidden meanings, let’s consider this question, when is modern art considered trash? Art is subjective, and what one person considers “trash” may be considered a masterpiece by another. You remember the saying, “One mans trash is another mans treasure“, right?

Some people may view certain art as “trash” when they feel that it lacks skill, craftsmanship, or meaningful content.

They may view the art as little more than a random assortment of objects or materials, with no apparent message or intent. And may even feel some art is too simplistic and lacking in technical mastery and originality expected from fine art.

When Contemporary Art cannot unveil its genuine message for which the artist wants to convey its absolute trash. The artist has failed, and the artwork means nothing.

Good Contemporary Art should be able to convey to the spectator a deeper hidden meaning or thought. However deep and whatever the meaning is totally up to the artist. Well, maybe, but that is mostly what people think that also think Modern Art is trash.

Case in point: What do you see when you look at Salvator Mundi? This is, of course, a famous painting created or in part created by Leonardo da Vinci and dates back to 1499 – 1510. When I look at the painting, here is what I see and can easily relate to it.

Fascinating Findings: What Makes People Deem Modern Art as ‘Trash’?

Stats based on Artaby’s readers

Our research uncovers some compelling insights into public perceptions of modern art. A staggering 72% of respondents believe that modern art falls into the category of ‘trash’ when it lacks skill or technical mastery. Close behind, 68% feel that the absence of a clear message diminishes the art’s value. Interestingly, 57% cite excessive simplicity or derivativeness as a downfall, while 56% point to a lack of originality. Evidently, the most critical factor is a lack of skill or technical mastery, with simplicity and originality running a close race bringing up the rear.

The artwork depicts Jesus in antiquated blue Renaissance attire, making the sign of the cross with his right hand while holding a transparent, non-refracting crystal ball with his left, marking his identity as Salvator Mundi and representing heaven’s celestial sphere.

Leonardo da Vinci - Salvator_Mundi - Reproduction
Leonardo da Vinci – Salvator_Mundi – Reproduction

Now, spectators may see something slightly different, but most likely we all will see the same thing as what I have mentioned. And upon inspecting, we can see the intricate details and appreciate the level of effort the artist made. Just by looking at the masterpiece, one can see it was not completed in a few minutes. Christie’s in New York sold the painting to Prince Badr bin Abdullah for US $450.3 million on November 15, 2017, setting a record for the most expensive painting ever sold at public auction.

Black Square, 1915, oil on linen, 79.5 × 79.5 cm, by artist Kazimir Malevich

Now let’s look at Black Square, 1915, oil on linen, 79.5 × 79.5 cm, by artist Kazimir Malevich. What do you see? Better yet, what does an ordinary person see? I see a black square with a white border. How long would it take me or anyone to paint this? Was he just clowning around or to be taken seriously? With the help of some masking tape and about five minutes, I can create a painting just like this. And I’ll even paint one for you in any color you want in about five minutes. This type of art sends the message that anyone with a spray can of color can be an artist.

Now, let’s remember a bit of History, Malevich is part of an art movement called Suprematism. Suprematism emphasized fundamental geometric forms such as circles, squares, lines, and rectangles painted in a limited color palette.

It was founded in Russia by Kazimir Malevich and announced in Malevich’s 1915 Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings in St. Petersburg when he presented 36 pieces in a similar style alongside 13 other painters. Suprematism is an abstract art movement that emphasizes “the dominance of pure creative sentiment” rather than the visual depiction of objects.

So, back to Malevich’s black square and your interpretation. Did you know that the black square symbolizes emotion? And the white border signifies an emptiness outside of feeling? When Malevich unveiled his masterpiece to the world, ordinary people found it strange. Folks still find it rather strange today.

The funny thing is there is no right or wrong way to look at it. You can turn it any which way and it changes nothing. Malevich clearly could demonstrate one thing, and he did a superb job at conveying the message that a painting does not have to represent something. He excelled at conveying that message. Maybe deep down, that was his primary goal all along. I guess this shows how doing something so simple and dull as a back square can be revolutionary.

The Fountain of Modern Art Trash

What do you think would happen if I went to the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, and placed a urinal in the middle of the floor in a prominent hallway? Would spectators marvel at the new exhibit? Would they be enthralled and crowd around to investigate further? Or would folks think the plumbing was being worked on? Because of Modern Art, I believe they would crowd around the new exhibit. I doubt anyone would think it’s a prank on Modern Art.

And yes, you guessed it; I am making light of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. Marcel Duchamp designed the fountain as a toilet in 1917. We usually regard Duchamp as one of the three artists that helped define the revolutionary achievements in the plastic arts in the early decades of the twentieth century, with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. We credit Duchamp with significant advances in painting and sculpture. His “fountain” art is nothing more than a porcelain urinal on which he signed.

A dumpster of Modern Art Trash
A dumpster of Modern Art Trash

Here is another one. What if someone set a dumpster on a busy street downtown and labeled it as a museum? As people walked by and threw in their trash, they would be unknowingly contributing to Modern Art, right? We could consider each piece of garbage in the dumpster a masterpiece.

As you can see, Modern Art can be tough to comprehend. Malevich and others feel abstract shapes can express emotions. We can observe how such artworks failed to communicate the creators’ aims and, therefore, believe Modern Art is absolute trash.

Rising From The Modern Art Trash

Modern Art vomit painter - Rising From The Modern Art Trash
Modern Art vomit painter – Rising From The Modern Art Trash

As we transcending into yet another art period and stray farther from Modern Art we will still be connected to this era of art. Modern Art will influence future art. We do not have to like it or admire it, but it will not disappear. It’s a part of our art history now, like it or not.


There is great Modern Art, and there are many great Modern Artists. So we can not say all Modern Art is trash. And we have to have enough wit about us to differentiate the good from the bad. Also, it’s important to note it does not matter if a gallery says it’s good, it can still be trash.

Modern Art funded and promoted by the art establishment is not automatically great art. Modern Art born out of elitism is trash. If only a few elite insiders know the hidden message in the art, then they can have all the joy and feel good about their intellectual superiority. The rest of the world will just call it absolute trash and go about their day.

When compared to other kinds of art, modern art is frequently difficult to understand and considered rubbish. Contemporary Art becomes more difficult to grasp when it deviates from traditional styles. When looking at abstract items or lines on a plane, it can be difficult to discern what the artist intended. Furthermore, some contemporary artists are frequently just clowning around.

When a bag of trash is called art, it’s time to take out the trash!






Saunders, F. S. (1995). Modern art was CIA’weapon’. The Independent, 22. https://jfzuluaga.com/wp-content/uploads/Modern-art-was-CIA.pdf

Whiteley, G. (2010). Junk: art and the politics of trash. Bloomsbury Publishing. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KBCMDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=Modern+Art+trash&ots=OtBQuWG2RU&sig=rWg7Kcnz7J_xm9rnkSw8NAqJjas#v=onepage&q=Modern%20Art%20trash&f=false

Boldrick, S. (2015). Trash as Trash as Art: Reflections on the Preservation and Destruction of Waste in Artistic Practice. NANO: New American Notes Online, (7). https://www.proquest.com/openview/427cda5ddeada1f91a79c62dd41a14b5/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=4476954

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