Gentle Bamboo Solutions

White paintings and the illusion of value


Pieces of paper are considered money because everyone mutually accepted that it’s a good idea. Diamonds are expensive because a fake sense of scarcity has been created by some company that controls the supply. Oil paintings are bought and sold for millions of dollars because a small minority of rich people believe "art" to be a worthwhile investment.

I understand why Leonardo da Vinci’s art work is worth millions. I also understand why Vincent van Gogh is considered a genius and his art sells for unbelievable amounts. I accept Pablo Picasso’s artwork is great too – even though I do not understand or appreciate it.

What I can not understand, appreciate or accept is the so-called Minimalist movement. I can not, for the life of me, understand how a white painting on a white canvas is "art". I want to believe I have an open mind, and I like to give everything a fair chance. This, though, is impossible for me to fathom.

I have seen many videos, read many articles, done my fair share of arm-chair research. I have heard passionate art historians, connoisseurs and museum curators explain at length, and it still makes no sense to me.

I have given up. However, I do believe that beauty and value are in the eyes of the beholder. I am unable to behold this, no matter how hard I try,

What is art? Why is it valuable? Why is said value only seen by some and not by others? Difficult, possibly impossible, questions to answer.

But, if we are to create anything valuable in the world, we need to accept a very difficult idea. We may not understand why people find some things valuable. But, we have no right to dismiss those people as idiots.

In doing that, we lose the understanding that comes from acceptance of different value systems. In doing that, we lose the opportunity to create something valuable ourselves.

Fifty shades of white,