I don’t like Picasso.
I don’t like Picasso’s cubist paintings… much.
I used to say I don’t like Picasso… until on time, in high school, I got an assignment for history class to write an essay about him. After I read a biography about Picasso, I couldn’t say I don’t like him any more and I even like some of his painting, not the cubist ones though, but I do not dislike those any more either. Once you get to know something it is harder to say you don’t like it. At least you will have a reason for not liking that, which I didn’t when I said I don’t like Picasso.
The same thing happened to me with Andy Warhol, Jospeh Beuys and Marina Abramovic, when I was a student. I used to not like them. I guess forgetting a lesson learned is ok if you remember it when you have to, ’cause I forgot most of what I learned in school…
The thing is that for some time now I do not think of artworks in terms of like and dislike, but in terms of if it inspires me or not. Because I can still say I don’t like Picasso and Warhol as in they do not inspire me, but Marina Abramovic is a real inspiration for me. Still I find it hard to say I like her work…. somehow the “like” in “I like chocolate” doesn’t seem right in “I like Marina’s performances”. For instance I have an artwork inspired by spiders and one inspired by snails and I do not like either spiders nor snails. Of course, during the documentation for the projects I got so familiar with both creatures that spiders do not freak me out like they do other people and I do not find snails as disgusting as I would otherwise… ’cause they is slimy. Still, I do not like them like I like wolves. What that means is that my liking for snails, spiders and Marina Abramovic is cultivated. I took an interest in these although I had no particular liking for them (or had even disliked them) in the beginning and grew to love them as I found out more about them, whereas my liking for wolves came before my interest in them. Liking wolves is stronger than linking snails because it is irrational. Also, cultivating positive feelings helps you control the negative ones.
So, what I learned from Picasso is that it is so easy to dislike something you don’t know much about.