Posts Tagged ‘modern art

14
Oct
11

The Dreary Legacy of Marcel Duchamp

old ideas

old ideas

I just caught bits of The Culture Show on BBC 2. One bloke was interviewing another bloke as they sat on a large luxury motor yacht. It seems that one of them was working for the program and the other was an “artist”. The artist had a concept for an art work which was this luxury motor yacht with his name stamped on it and no other changes. The artist was a German named Christian Jankowski at this year’s Frieze Art Fair.

In fact the art work had not yet been created. First he intended to sell the concept to a punter and then the work would be created. The interviewer asked if he got any flack along the lines of anyone could do this and it’s not art. Yawn!

In 1917 Marcel Duchamp created a work of art entitled Fountain consisting of a urinal which had been signed by M. Duchamp. This, apparently, kicked off the discussion: Is it art? Who says what is art? If I am an artist then anything I created is art. The circular logic of such an argument etc etc.

M. Duchamp opened the door for nearly a century of boring and uninspired people to duck out of real creativity and spend their time climbing up their own arses.

It is true that the vast majority of the world’s population will not have heard of M. Duchamp and his exploits and it’s true that many popular newspapers will rant against such art. But for artist of today, to fall back on ideas that are nearly a century old as justification for their work woud be laughable if the media did not insist on treating the argument so seriously.

The type of artist who get off on this sort of piffle is the same sort of person who, were he a computer geek, would spend his time condescendingly boring all and sundry with details of the technical implantation of his latest box of chips.

Of course a luxury motor yacht is a work of art but it’s artistry is no more imbued by a supposed artist plonking his name on it than a Range Rover is by attaching the word Vogue or a Panasonic camera is by rebadging it as a Leica and marking it up £150.

These activities are not art they are mere marketing.

For a contemporary artist to make Duchamp’s ideas the centre piece for his work shows a pitiful lack of imagination and it is not surprising that many artists in this tradition appear so passionless and vague. In this evening’s Culture Show it became evident that many artists will never challenge an interpretation of their work. Apparently they want to leave the interpretation open. Here we run into yet another stock cliché of the contemporary art world: the idea that each person will have their own impression of an art work. Many artists have misinterpreted this as meaning that an artist should have no ideas or incites of his or her own. These seems to me to be the antithesis of an artist.

I listened to the first part of Mike Oldfield‘s Ommadawn this morning and it struck me that, without wanting to detract from Mr. Oldfield’s skill and achievements, his work was a product of it’s time. Technology had progressed to the point where musicians could afford recording studios in their own houses and this allowed Mr. Oldfield to create a work where he played all the instruments. When Tubular Bells was released in 1973 this was amazing yet today kids have more powerful studios in their bedrooms.

Technology enables art.

In the 80s the Western world became rich. Many of the newly rich had no knowledge of, and therefore no preconceptions and prejudices about, art.  Further, many were not really interested in art yet wanted the qudos that art provides. This left the way open for self appointed gate keepers such as Charles Saatchi to milk the rich while pursuing his passion for modern art.

Artists embraced this culture and began creating all sorts of stuff but I can’t help thinking that Damien Hirst‘s sharks were, really, no more that the product of new money looking for sensation. The money was there to pay for Hirst to turn his childhood hobby of fish taxidermy into a business. So he did.

None of this is to denigrate contemporary art. 90% of it may be shit but in the words of the late, and great, Theordore Sturgeon90% of everything is shit” and Mr. Saatchi has done the nation a huge service by presenting more than 10% of it at the fantastic Saatchi Gallery.

What I object to is lame and passionless artists, unable to think of new ideas and so falling back on the ideas of an artist who’s been dead for over forty years.

To be more explicit: Forget whether it’s art, is it any good?

About these ads
04
Jun
11

George Shaw at the South London Gallery

George Shaw

George Shaw

I’ve been looking out for an exhibition of the work of George Shaw for some time and finally found that an exhibition at the South London Gallery.

The exhibition is entitled The Sly And Unseen Day. Shaw paints pictures from his youth growing up on a housing estate in Coventry. He uses Humbrol paints which are more normally associated with the painting of airfix model kits which many young boys will remember from the 1970s.

His pictures are devoid of people and I find them strangely haunting and reminiscent of my own youth. I have heard it suggested that Shaw’s pallet is predetermined by the set colours of the paint. I doubt that he mixed the paint. Up close the effect is almost metallic and each brick in a brick wall seems individually to spring out of the canvas. His control of light is excellent and shows up in the shadows of trees cast on buildings and the reflections from large rain puddles.

The gallery is an impressive old building on Peckham Road, admittance is free but they request donations. I found it easy enough to park in a side road.

The South London Gallery

The South London Gallery

.
.

Rose

Green Rose by Nigel Chaloner

25
Nov
10

The Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

I was up at The Saatchi Gallery today. I don’t know what possessed me to go. I like “modern art” but had got the impression that Saatchi promoted all that was bollocks in British art. I was surprised and inspired.

I arrived around 9am and found it closed. However, just down the road on Sloane Square is an excellent restaurant named The Botanist. £25 for a English Breakfast with a multi-berry juice seems expensive but it was fantastic and hit the spot. Returning to The Saatchi at 10am I think I was the first in. I much prefer wandering around a museum or gallery when the hoi polloi are absent.

There is some very good work there at the moment and I spent around two hours to see everything.
Some black and white star bursts juxtaposed alongside apparently traditional Japanese flowers by Mustafa Hulusi worked very well indeed accentuating the uniqueness of each image. Abstract paintings by Henrijs Preiss were so detailed that they appeared that they should convey some kind of meaning; a military insignia perhaps or an antique board? I found James Howard’s posters fascinating. Highly colourful, and with images that could not fail to have impact, they seemed to be either translated from another language and culture or invented by a random word and picture generator. The architect Richard Wilson has a permanent exhibit on the lower ground floor which is impressive. A room has been half filled with used engine sump oil which reflects absolutely and without a ripple. It is virtually impossible to discern the surface and one’s perception of emptiness is only disturbed by the walkway which stretches out into he oil. In the shop, a digital clock consisting of many separate analogue clocks is worth a look.

The Saatchi is just down the road from Sloane Square tube station, opens at 10am and…….. it’s free! You lucky people!

Swarm - Tessa Farmer

Swarm - Tessa Farmer

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery

Saatchi Gallery




Enter email address to receive notifications of new posts.

Join 174 other followers

Images

Girl On Tube

Waterloo Station

orange

Traffic Lights

Dust Motes

Sunflower

Sunflower

Sunflower

Bees & Sunflower

Sunflower

More Photos

Jonesxxx on Twitter

October 2014
M T W T F S S
« May    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 174 other followers