Whenever modern art enters discussion (like you, The Guys keep up very erudite circles), there will inevitably be a few dissenters who cannot stand the abstract. While much can be expressed outside of recognizable shape and form, you can’t help but wonder if it’s making fun of you. And then, when you see the price tag on an over-sized mobile made of garbage, then you’re sure it is.
But, a new exhibit at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece proves that we’ve struggled with — and yet insisted on — finding meaning in abstract modern art for the past 7,000 years. They are displaying a Neolithic sculpture tantalizingly titled the “7,000-year-old enigma.” What is it?
Carved out of granite, the 36 cm (14 inches) “enigma” statuette of the late Neolithic era has a pointed nose and long neck leading to a markedly round belly, flat back and cylindrical stumpy legs.
Great. But, what is it?
‘It could depict a human-like figure with a bird-like face, or a bird-like entity which has nothing to do with man but with the ideology and symbolism of the Neolithic society,’ Katya Manteli, an archaeologist with the museum, told Reuters.
OK, but is it a boy or a girl duck … thing?
More puzzling still is the lack of clear indication of sex. Is it due to technical sculpting limitations? Or did the sculptor intend to create an asexual figure. […] ‘Yes, it could be a pregnant figure but there are no breasts, used in Neolithic times to depict the female body. On the other hand it lacks male organs so it is presented as an asexual figure,’ Manteli said.”
But which bathroom does it use?! Very important legislators in the U.S. need to know before passing anti-trans laws and eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts.
‘There are enigmatic aspects to it which make it charming.’
Well, there we go. The perfect term to describe any thing that is noteworthy but otherwise indescribable: it’s charming. This proves once and for all that art has always existed to shamefully infuriate us.