Sometimes, when posh nightclub owners or interior decorators are faced with a big, blank wall, they decide to do something to break up the space. "We should put something on this wall. Some art, like a painting," they think to themselves. "Like, that one with the black lines and the coloured boxes. Yeah, a Mondrian, that's what I need!"
The result is that Mondrian's paintings are now found in all sorts of places that are trying to look hipper than they really are. Places like hotel lobbies or reception desks. No one is actually supposed to look at the art, and this is a problem.
Have you ever looked at a Mondrian? Like, really looked? I saw a print raggedly framed and fixed to a wall in Metro, a nightclub in Calgary. I attempted to discover what the painting was trying to "say". I stared: There was blue, red, and yellow pushed to the edges of the frame by four imposing white rectangles in the centre, with thick black outlines. Suddenly, I got it; absence, loss, betrayal, disconectedness. That's what the painting was saying! And here it was, full of negative energy, on the wall at a nightclub, a place where it's assumed everyone is happy.
There was another Mondrian next to it, and I stared at this one. A big red square, now surrounded by white. Boasting, pride, and jealousy. The juxtaposition of the two was even more painful. What sort of message was the owner implying by these two paintings? I realized it was none at all. Did the owner actually look at these paintings? Probably not. He was just filling space. And now he's brought anger and confusion to anyone who actually tries to appreciate the prints.
So, the moral of the story is if you're going to fill space with Mondrians, at least check that the Mondrian exudes the kind of feelings you wish to associate with the room. Otherwise, you'll just make easily annoyed oversensitive critical thinkers, like me, pissed off.