Great post, Sir Nat!!!!
I was hoping somebody who has seen a Pollock would chime in. I do want to see one but these days I am restricting my travel for the most part.
The Community College up here sponsors affordable bus trips to exhibits but they are laying low for now. I've gone on a few of those day trips, they chose well - the last time I went we saw the King Tut exhibit.
Timeless, true Art is timeless.
I was a photography major in college and took 2 semesters of Art History - the teacher attempted to teach from the perspective of the people who created the Art, what the purpose of the Art was for them, etc.
We covered some topics in photography classes as well since it has been an "interesting" and never ending historical discussion regarding whether photography can or cannot be Art.
I learned that photographers began taking portrait commissions away from artists - who needed that income. One response was Surrealism, painting things that could not be photographed.
Impressionism, Cubism, all sorts of responses to the threat of this new medium. Some photographers counter-responded during the Dada era, Man Ray is the most well known.
The history is one thing, seeing the Art itself in person is another experience entirely. I saw an Alexander Calder exhibit at the MOMA in San Francisco. They had a gallery of his wire sculptures and the rest of the floor contained his huge, wonderful mobiles. There is a Braque in the DeYoung Museum in SF.
The city of Fresno - where I was born and raised - had a couple of Calder pieces, one on the downtown mall and one in between 2 buildings at the Convention Center. Lovely things indeed.
All sorts of Modern Art on the West Coast. We have a fair bit of interesting sculpture in little Bellingham, where I live now.
Sometimes I've thought that people can reject the unfamiliar without realizing how completely strange our planet is, to say nothing of the creatures that inhabit it. We glance at a grasshopper and think "a bug". And it IS a bug.
But it is also an insanely intricate conglomeration of features that has survived the test of time. It would be difficult to invent one out of thin air!!!