Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Why has the artist, so skilled in deploying the Khajuraho motifs, never used them for icons of Islam?

Arun Shourie Indian Express: Friday, December 28, 2007
M.F. Husain. He is a kindly man, and a prodigiously productive artist. There is no warrant at all for disrupting all his exhibitions. I am on the point of sensibilities. His depictions of Hindu goddesses have been in the news: he has painted them in less than skimpy attire. I particularly remember one in which Sita is riding Hanuman’s stiffened tail — of course, she is scarcely clad, but that is the least of it: you need no imagination at all to see what she is rubbing up against that stiffened tail.
Well, in the case of an artist, that is just inspiration, say the secularists. OK. The question that arises then is: How come in the seventy-five years Husain has been painting, he has not once felt inspired, not once, to paint the face of the Prophet? It doesn’t have to be in the style in which he has painted the Hindu goddesses. Why not the most beautiful, the most radiant and luminous face that he can imagine? How come he has never felt inspired to paint women revered in Islam, or in his own family, in the same style as the one that propelled his inspiration in regard to Hindu goddesses?
‘In painting the goddesses, he was just honouring them,’ a secular intellectual remarked at a discussion the other day. ‘It was his way of honouring them.’ Fine. It is indeed the case that one of the best ways we can honour someone is to put the one skill we have at the service of the person or deity. But how come that Husain never but never thought of honouring the Prophet by using the same priceless skill, that one ‘talent which is death to hide’?
‘Has Mr Shourie ever visited Khajuraho?,’ a member of the audience asked, the implication being that, as Hindu sculptors had depicted personages naked, what was wrong with Husain depicting the goddesses in the same style. Fine again. But surely, it is no one’s case that the ‘Khajuraho style’ must be confined to Hindu icons. Why has the artist, so skilled in deploying the Khajuraho motifs, never used them for icons of Islam? The reason why an artist desists from depicting the Prophet’s face is none of these convoluted disquisitions on style. The reason is simplicity itself: he knows he will be thrashed, and his hands smashed. 5:17 AM

Monday, December 24, 2007

Heaven and earth, round above square

Chinese Unveil Mammoth Arts Center By JOSEPH KAHN nytimes.com: December 24, 2007
The new National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing is meant to establish a cultural core next to Tiananmen Square, a political center.

BEIJING — Compared variously to a floating pearl and a duck egg, the titanium-and-glass half-dome of the National Center for the Performing Arts formally opened its underwater entryway to Chinese officials and dignitaries here over the weekend.
The $400 million complex, a concert hall, opera house and theater under one space age span, is designed to be the center of Chinese culture, just as Tiananmen Square next door was designated this country’s political center.
The complex’s lush, dazzling interior, sophisticated acoustics and mechanical wizardry rival any hall in Europe or the United States, its promoters say. Chen Ping, the center’s director, proclaimed it “a concrete example of China’s rising soft power and comprehensive national strength” during the opening ceremony on Saturday night.
Yet the center, designed by the French architect Paul Andreu, has attracted at least as much attention for its cost overruns, safety concerns and provocative aesthetics.
And the hall’s artistic directors, appointed after prolonged bureaucratic squabbling, had to scramble to line up a credible schedule of performances for the premier season, which runs from late December until April, organizers said.
The opening event was an eclectic sampler of Chinese and Western musical classics, with two conductors, two orchestras, four choral groups and a half-dozen soloists, a mélange that showed off the building’s acoustics but underscored its continuing search for an artistic mission.
Li Changchun, a senior Communist Party leader, was the guest of honor at the event, broadcast on national television. At each interlude in the program camera operators hustled to the row in front of Mr. Li to record him clapping.
The center joins a list of monoliths designed by foreign architects — the bird’s-nest Olympic stadium and the cantilevered towers of China Central Television’s new headquarters among them — that have remade the Beijing skyline and projected the soaring ambitions and bulging coffers of the Communist Party leadership.
Mr. Andreu’s creation joins the Shanghai Grand Theater, designed by another Frenchman, Jean-Marie Charpentier, as one of the top performance halls in China.
That field will grow crowded, however, as other cities pour hundreds of millions of dollars into their own cultural showcases. Zaha Hadid, the London architect, is building an opera house for Guangzhou, a provincial capital. The architect Carlos Ott, a Canadian born in Uruguay, has four contracts for performance halls in smaller cities.
Whether this adds up to a cultural renaissance or an edifice contest remains unclear. China has produced first-rate classical musicians, including the pianists Yundi Li, who performed a solo on Saturday night, and Lang Lang. Yet its musical groups, ballets and symphony orchestras have received far less attention than the concert halls. They face financial constraints, political censorship and public indifference.
“China needs a top national performance hall of this kind,” Wu Zuqiang, who heads the center’s arts committee, said in an interview before it opened. “But promoting national culture will take extended efforts, and will require some adjustments in our approach.”
Officials call the complex the largest performing arts center in the world, twice as big as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. It was designed to be conspicuous.
Mr. Andreu said that he envisioned the hall as a tribute to the traditional Chinese image of heaven and earth, round above square. His bubblelike soaring glass dome encloses several performance spaces and is suspended above a shallow pool. Viewed at night, illuminated from within, the dome resembles a spaceship hovering over a calm lake. But on dim days when the haze and dust of Beijing cover the silvery titanium shell, the hall can look no more distinguished than an airport service hangar.
A few years ago a group of Chinese architects organized a vocal petition campaign to protest the design. They said it blended poorly with the Stalinist Great Hall of the People next door and high vermilion walls of the imperial Forbidden City across the street.

Global symbol for the promotion of utilizing rainwater

Current Program
How can we use design to respond to and address issues related to our natural or social environments? 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT is dedicated to addressing themes that are rooted in everyday life. In keeping with this, we are pleased to announce the title of our second major exhibition, water.
“water” image : Tamotsu Fujii 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT director and graphic designer Taku Satoh will “curate” the exhibition. Mr. Satoh has put together a team of experts from a wide variety of fields including anthropology, photography, lighting design, and design engineering. The water project is a result of extensive research and is comprised not only by an exhibition, but is also an attempt to engage the five senses by creating different points of reference between design and water. The latter will be in the form of publications, websites, talk shows, and workshops. Our hope is that the exhibition will not just be a display of new design, but rather will be an experiment in ways to "expressing water through design."
“water” image visual (Mauritania) PHOTO : Tamotsu Fujii
Director's Statement Taku Satoh
Statement by exhibition concept supervisor Shinichi Takemura
DATE: 2007.10.5 (FRI) – 2008.1.14 (MON)
TIME: 11:00~20:00(Entrance until 19:30)
CLOSED: Tuesdays (Except Oct. 30th) and Dec 30th through Jan 3rd
ADMISSION: General ¥1,000/ University student ¥800/ High and Junior high school student ¥500/Ages 12 and under may enter for free*¥200 discount for a group of over 15 people
Organizers: 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT,THE MIYAKE ISSEY FOUNDATION
In Association with: Agency for Cultural Affairs/ Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry/ Ministry of the Environment (scheduled)
Special Cooperation: Taku Satoh Design Office Inc.
Creative Directors: Miyake Issey, Taku Satoh, Naoto Fukasawa
Noriko Associate Director: Noriko Kawakami
[Creative team]
Taku Satoh Graphic designer, Exhibition Director
Shinichi Takemura Cultural anthropologist, Concept Supervisor
Kazutoshi Amano Graphic designer
Arakawakensuke Interactive Media Designer
Tamotsu Fujii Photographer
Hiroaki Ide Sound Space Composer
Haruki Kaito Lighting designer
takram Design engineers
[Special Participants]
Kenya Hara Graphic designer
Yasuhiro Ishimoto Photographer
Yoshihiro Kawasaki Sound artist/designer
METAPHOR Design engineers
Nozomu Miura Programmer
Makoto Murase (“Dr. Rainwater”) & the NPO People for Rainwater
Taikan Oki Hydrologist *Alphabetical order back to page top
About the exhibition logo – by Taku Satoh
“water” Logo The silhouette of a man holding an upside-down umbrella.This symbol, the logo for the water exhibition, was also designed in the hopes that it will become a global symbol for the promotion of utilizing rainwater as a means of conserving and enhancing our natural resources.
One of the biggest issues facing us all today is how to effectively harness and benefit from rainwater. True, rain, when it falls torrentially and leads to disasters can threaten our livelihoods. But if we can find ways to use it we will not be forced to rely solely on groundwater or water from polluted waterways or water that's pumped horizontally from faraway dams that uses precious energy. Rather, we will be able to use "vertical" water that flows freely from the sky above. Thinking about how we can make the best use of water means thinking about design in the 21st century. The silhouette of a person holding a common umbrella upside down signifies the relationship between water and human ingenuity, but also symbolizes a drastic change that must take place in our way of thinking about the manner in which we treat the environment.
Terms of use for the water exhibition mark back to page top
Related Events
In conjunction with this show, the Aoyama Book Center will hold a water-related book fair and talk series. Details to be announced.
Details back to page top Publications
Exhibition catalogue
Planned release: early November 2007 Text in Japanese and English
Related publication: water (provisional title) Planned release: October 5, 2007 Publisher: World Photo Press Co., Ltd.
back to page top
21_21 DESIGN SIGHT 9-7-6 tel:03-3475-2121 info@2121designsight.jp © Copyright 2007 THE MIYAKE ISSEY FOUNDATION, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Inc. 6:34 PM

By now everyone knows that art is business, the art world a public relations machine

By HOLLAND COTTER nytimes.com: December 23, 2007
With Wall Street shaky but art prices sky-high, even the art world’s professional boosters started sounding moral about art and money in 2007, as if opportunistically positioning themselves for a fall. Too late. By now everyone knows that art is business, the art world a public relations machine. The sheer bulk of hyped product made the past season look not eclectic and textured but sleek and flat. What did give it texture and color in memory were the intangibles: individual acts, gestures or encounters...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fifty-four paintings

When Huta first exhibited the paintings she has now collected in her new book Pictures of Sri Aurobindo's Poems the Mother had written: "Those who appreciated the illustrations of Savitri will surely like to see these paintings." After the New Publications section, we offer a brief glimpse into the book and a look at a few of Huta's paintings inspired by lines from Sri Aurobindo's poems.
Pictures of Sri Aurobindo's Poems
— Paintings by Huta with verses from Sri Aurobindo's poems and relevant quotations from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo ISBN: 978-81-87372-17-2 Publisher: The Havyavahana Trust, Pondicherry Binding: Soft CoverPages: 118Price: Rs 400
In March 1967 Huta began the work of expressing some of Sri Aurobindo’s poems through paintings. Under the Mother’s inspiration and guidance she selected certain passages from the poems and completed fifty-four paintings, which were all shown to the Mother in September of that year. This new book presents these paintings along with the lines which inspired them from some of Sri Aurobindo’s most well-known poems, such as “Invitation”, “Who”, “Thought the Paraclete”, and “A God’s Labour”. Appropriate quotations from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, some comments on the paintings by the Mother, and background information and photographs accompany the plates. The entire book is printed on art paper.
SABDA SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM PONDICHERRY 605 002 INDIA
Tel.: +91 413 2223328, 2233656 Fax: +91 413 2223328 Email: mail@sabda.in

Masonic stamp is visible throughout the city of Washington, DC

What do the international best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, the hit movie National Treasure, starring Nicholas Cage, and the upcoming Octagon exhibition The Initiated Eye have in common? All three reveal the little known contribution of Freemasonry to American culture and history. In an unprecedented collaboration with the Grand Lodge of Free And Accepted Masons of the District of Columbia in Washington, DC, and artist Peter Waddell, The Octagon, the Museum of The American Architectural Foundation is organizing an original exhibition focusing specifically on the interesting and significant contributions of Freemasons to the design and architecture of Washington, DC.
The tradition of Masonic architecture in the United States is grounded in a history far older than the establishment of this country. Many of this nation’s founding fathers were themselves Freemasons and the Masonic stamp is visible throughout the city of Washington, DC, the surrounding metropolitan area, and the entire country.
Featuring 20 original paintings by history painter Peter Waddell complemented by original Masonic artifacts, the exhibition will tell the story of the city’s design from a new perspective and shed light on the Masonic connections of many historic buildings in the nation’s capital. These paintings and objects will explain some of the secret symbols of Freemasonry and provide an understanding of how Masonic symbols were and are used as powerful symbols of this nation.
Original artifacts from the rich collections of the metropolitan area’s many lodges, many never seen before by the public, will accompany the paintings. George Washington’s leather coffin strap decorated with Masonic symbols will be paired with a painting of a 19th-century funeral cortege depicted outside one of DC’s oldest lodges. An exquisite Klismos-inspired chair designed by architect John Russell Pope for his architectural masterpiece, the House of the Temple on 16th street will be shown with a painting depicting the interior of this magnificent structure. The intention of the exhibition is to demystify the role that Freemasons have played in this nation’s architectural history and to provide a new perspective on various historic events.
The exhibition remains on view through December 31, 2005. Extensive educational programming is planned to accompany the exhibition, including walking tours of area Lodges and Temples, musical performances, lectures, and workshops.
Peter Waddell, well-known for his work as a history painter, has created several series of paintings that have served as the foundation of popular exhibitions at The Octagon, including most recently, Inside the Temple of Liberty: 19th-Century Interiors of the U.S. Capitol Building (2002). A group of masons is working closely with Mr. Waddell to identify topics for the paintings and assist in the research necessary to ensure the accuracy of the work.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest secular fraternal organizations, whose members are concerned with moral and spiritual values. Freemasonry dates to the Middle Ages as an organization for stone masons, very similar to other craft guilds. Implements of architectural craftsmen are used symbolically in the organization’s system of instruction. Many American architects and builders have been and are Freemasons and the ceremonies of Freemasonry are still used at the dedication of the cornerstones of important buildings.
The Octagon, the museum of the American Architectural Foundation (AAF), is a nationally recognized museum of architecture and design located two blocks from the White House. One of Washington, DC’s earliest residences, the building is a National Registered Landmark (1960) and is accredited by the American Association of Museum (1973). The Octagon’s mission is to educate the public about architecture, design, historic preservation, and stewardship of our architectural heritage. These goals are accomplished through on-site exhibitions, traveling exhibitions, collections and a wide variety of creative public programs. 7:39 AM Also The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital : The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C. by David Ovason

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Most contemporary art, critic Robert Hughes once observed, is clumsy, narcissistic and obscure

A humanist philosophy for art Posted by D.K. Row
The Oregonian December 06, 2007 08:22AM Categories: Seminal NW Artists, Visual Arts Top Stories
Most contemporary art, critic Robert Hughes once observed, is clumsy, narcissistic and obscure. Which is why the sure-handed, unequivocal work of Portland artist Debra Beers is so refreshing and important. From her well-known images of downtown life to her newest works of gnarled, barren trees and natural life near her home in Southeast Portland, Beers paints and draws with an uncommon authority and a feeling, clarity and commitment that are also increasingly rare.
In her latest show of drawings at the Mark Woolley Gallery opening tonight during First Thursday, Beers has moved away from her unofficial documentation of downtown life to the natural world that has inspired countless Oregon artists. Despite the shift from urban to rural subject matter, the new work still powerfully showcases Beers' artistry and affirms her standing as one of this city's more accomplished, if under-recognized, artists.
Since arriving from Washington roughly 20 years ago, Beers has charted a career path that's been both praised and elusive. On one hand, each show has marked a deepening exploration of subject matter and technique. On the other, wide public recognition and sales have eluded her.
There are reasons for this paradox. When she started showing her paintings and drawings in Portland, Beers' subject matter, in the most general terms, was the socially and politically oppressed: homeless people, at-risk youth and other inhabitants of a pre-gentrified downtown where Beers lived for 17 years. Often made on slate, tin and other salvaged materials that symbolized the discarded nature of her subjects, the portraits refused to objectify. They were deeply felt, poignant interpretations that reflected influences as far-ranging as Asian art, the British graphic artist Sue Coe, mid-century expressionist Mark Rothko and the socially minded artists of the Ashcan School.
Beers' subject matter gradually enlarged to include portraits and scenes of those with little connection to the world of social services. These lively street scenes, images of war protesters and portraits of downtown denizens extended the scope of her art, which has never been driven by the art-world dialogue of the moment but has instead aspired to something more enduring and personal: to penetrate people's souls.
"It's the rare person and collector who wants to put up a painting of a homeless man in their home," says Linda Tesner, a friend of Beers' and director of the Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art at Lewis & Clark College, where Beers teaches part time in the art department.
That humanistic philosophy isn't surprising if you know something about Beers. Born in San Diego and raised in Phoenix and the Tri-Cities area in Washington, Beers, 53, is like her work: dignified, free of irony and sarcasm. A protestor of the Vietnam War, painfully shy and a vegan who doesn't use leather, she has also worked and volunteered at the soup kitchens and shelters that have influenced much of her art.
Her newest work is inspired by the foliage and nature surrounding Johnson Creek, the urban watershed immediately behind her house. Instead of street kids, Old Town shopkeepers and homeless people, she has drawn majestic, looming cedars, muscular branches and rugged vines, tree-cutters in the midst of dangerous business and assorted hanging roots. Beautiful without flirting with prettiness, these drawings in one respect remind us of the fine tradition of drawers that exists in Portland, one that includes George Johanson, Bob Hanson and Lucinda Parker, among others.
In another respect, the drawings reveal an essential characteristic of Beers' work, no matter the subject matter she's addressing: She's always been rooted formally in an exploration of the human figure. The writhing, sinuous trees and branches, for example, outline a bodily presence. They're human, alive.
In Beers' paintings made on found detritus, there had always been a tension between the materials used and the finished image, one that often left viewers too focused on her choice of unusual surfaces.
But in these drawings, the drama between materials and image has been eliminated. Drawing, which is art's version of poetry, has allowed Beers to work directly, to follow without distraction the line from her head to her hand. In the show's several drawings of an immense Port Orford cedar suffering from root disease, Beers also shows us why some fellow artists compare her to Albrecht Durer, the Northern Renaissance master of prodigious skill.
Drawn from several fundamental points of view inside the tree, the drawings crescendo brilliantly from whiteness to darkness and then back, while capturing, piece by piece, the evolution of a death.
Beers chose to make these new drawings about nature partially because of circumstance. About three years ago, she left her downtown studio because of rising rent. Then, she and her boyfriend bought the house near Johnson Creek. Those events, as it turned out, also coincided with an internal shift in her thinking.
"I was becoming less engaged," Beers says about living and making art in downtown Portland. "I was tired of living in a world of concrete. I found myself spending more time in Washington Park."
Now, she lives away from downtown and has a studio next to her home. The garret-like studio is pure Beers: It has few of the creature comforts or idiosyncratic flourishes that animate many art studios.
In January, Beers will be part of a faculty show at Lewis & Clark, where she'll exhibit a single series of drawings that collectively are about 70 feet long. The frieze of drawings documents the recent death of Beers' father from multiple myeloma.
Beers says viewers might be compelled to make a connection between those drawings of her father at Lewis & Clark and these pieces of nature at Woolley's gallery, especially the drawings of the diseased Port Orford cedar. They would be right, she says. Both bodies of work are about reverence.
Which returns us to the existential core of Beers' work. From protesters and street kids hanging out downtown to proud, dying trees, the artist is reminding viewers of something that's easily forgotten in a world in which self-examination has evolved into a form of New Age mumbo-jumbo and plain old narcissism: Life is fleeting and fragile. And she's reminding us that art, while not a religion or an official school of spirituality, can connect us to a feeling, a recognition, in which, even for a moment, the limits of the physical world hardly matter. Permalink (Learn More)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Rebellion, transformation, re-evaluation, and renewal

The Cult of the Difficult Terry Teachout commentarymagazine.com December 2007
The history of Western art in the 20th century is a tempestuous chronicle of rebellion, transformation, re-evaluation, and renewal. For those of us who lived through its latter half, it hardly seems possible that the story is now over—that modernism, to put it another way, is a thing of the past. Though a few major protagonists remain alive and active, the mainstream of artistic endeavor has moved on, leaving to critics and historians the retrospective tasks of narrative and stock-taking.
As yet, no real attempt has been made to supply a comprehensive chronicle of modernism, one that would cut across media and genres to explain how a movement whose original hallmark was the deliberate repudiation of easy accessibility came to dominate the world of art. The reason for this is that few writers, if any, are competent to discuss with equal assurance the works of architects, choreographers, composers, filmmakers, novelists, painters, and poets. Yet how else can one produce a full-scale account of the modern movement in art? The only alternative, to focus on bits and pieces, elides the very idea of modernism, whose significance lay in the fact that it exerted its transformative power on art and artists of all kinds.
For this reason, Peter Gay, the author of Modernism: The Lure of Heresy, deserves much credit for having taken on the daunting task of making sense out of the whole phenomenon and for doing so with some success.1 This success arises in part from the fact that Gay, who is a historian rather than a critic, has chosen to emphasize description over evaluation, mostly accepting the common estimates of the relative importance of key figures. In addition, he has been extremely selective in his choice of these figures, thus making it possible to compress and simplify the story in the interest of greater intelligibility. As he explains in the book’s preface, his aim was
not to compile an expansive catalog of all the strands and leading figures in modernism, but to examine their presence in culture and to discover, if possible, whether they coalesce to define a single cultural entity.
The problem with this approach, however, is that it runs the risk of becoming over-obvious and even tautological. “To the best of my knowledge, no scholar has ever tried to map all the manifestations of modernism as making up a single historical epoch,” Gay claims. This may be literally true, but, from the privileged vantage point of late 2007, the fact that modernism constitutes a “single historical epoch” is surely all but self-evident. Moreover, Gay’s account of its rise and fall, though it has the great virtue of conceptual clarity, is far less successful at telling us which of modernism’s best-known practitioners are most deserving of our attention today, or why some of them now seem so much more compelling than others.
The most impressive thing about Modernism is the apparent ease with which Gay discusses so wide a range of artistic activity. “To appreciate two of the arts in a discerning manner is not unusual,” the novelist Anthony Powell once remarked. “Where three are claimed, more often than not, grasp of the third shows signs of strain.” The author of Modernism would seem to be an exception to this rule. Not only is Gay absolutely secure when talking about literature and the visual arts, but he writes almost as fluently about music and dance (which he treats, not altogether convincingly, as a single topic).
Similarly admirable is the frequent good sense that Gay brings to his description of the modernist project. He is quick, for instance, to note that the “bourgeoisophobia” (as Gustave Flaubert called it) that was so prominent a part of the modern artist’s self-image was inconsistent both with the complex reality of middle-class life and with the receptivity to modern art shown by the hated bourgeoisie itself:
The infuriated balletgoers who in 1911 noisily disrupted the premiere of Nijinsky and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring were followed by audiences that found this potent amalgam of radical score and radical choreography far from indigestible and really quite enjoyable. It is an apparent self-contradiction but a historical fact that modernist works, produced to provide an aura of heresy, should end up being called classics.
Conversely, as Gay also points out, modern artists were themselves quick to embrace the middle- and upper-middle-class style of life made possible by the bourgeoisie’s lucrative embrace of their art. In similar fashion, their pose of radical individualism was contradicted by the “desire for companionship and reassurance” that led them to form schools and factions and to hammer out new aesthetic orthodoxies that were in many cases at least as rigid as the old-fashioned ones they had previously sought to overthrow.
In describing the emergence of these orthodoxies, Gay proves willing to describe modernism as it really was instead of taking the claims of its proponents at face value. But when it comes to judging the modernists, he is far less fresh in his thinking. Thus, Arnold Schoenberg is for him “the undisputed leader of the 20th-century upheaval in music”; Virginia Woolf is the peer of Henry James, James Joyce, and Marcel Proust; and D.W. Griffith, Sergei Eisenstein, Charlie Chaplin, and Orson Welles stand at “the summit of modernist moviemaking.” Each of these individual claims is defensible—but taken together, they suggest a straight-faced artistic equivalent of Flaubert’s satirical “dictionary of received ideas.”
Nor does Gay have anything especially original to say about the actual output of the artists he discusses in Modernism, though the urbane patina of his prose helps to mask the commonplace quality of his observations. (“Debussy’s work,” he writes in one example that can stand for many, “was a delicate search, perfectly fitting into the world that modernist painters and poets were pursuing in their own way—the inner life and its felicitous portrayal.”) Even when he moves beyond the realm of the certified masters to the contemporary scene, his assessments prove equally predictable: we are invited to accept Frank Gehry and Gabriel García Márquez as direct successors to the giants of modernism past.
To repeat, Modernism is a work of history, not criticism. But because art is his subject matter, Gay cannot shirk the making of critical judgments; they are implicit on every page. And it is difficult not to question the taste of an art historian who can, among other things, call the second-rate English choreographer John Cranko an “interesting competitor” to George Balanchine, declare with a straight face that Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum is “a historic masterpiece” and marked “the most sensational debut of a novelist since Flaubert’s Madame Bovary,” or put forward Casablanca, Citizen Kane, His Girl Friday, La Femme du Boulanger, and The Third Man as his personal list of the great films of the 20th century.
No less questionable—especially when viewed from the perspective of 2007—is the omnipresence of Sigmund Freud in Gay’s narrative.
That Freud should figure prominently in a study of the idea of modernism is, of course, entirely appropriate, since his ideas were powerfully influential on many modern artists—though by no means all. Vladimir Nabokov, the quintessential modern novelist (and one who, perhaps not coincidentally, goes unmentioned in Modernism), curtly dismissed Freud as a “Viennese witch-doctor” who reduced the fruits of the human imagination to a set of “standardized symbols,” of interest only to “the credulous and the vulgar.” But the thinking of numerous other modernists was strongly shaped by Freud’s theories of the unconscious mind and its effects on human behavior. Thomas Mann went so far as to call psychoanalysis “the greatest contribution to the art of the novel” to be made in modern times.
It stands to reason that Peter Gay, Freud’s biographer and the author of many other books about the man and his times, should have chosen to emphasize the role of psychoanalysis in the development of modernism. What is more revealing is the near-obsessiveness with which he does so. Time and again, Freud is gratuitously dragged in, usually in order to bolster a cliché:
All in all, Cézanne’s artistic reactions to his inner turmoil shore up Freud’s assertion that try as they will, humans cannot keep their secrets. . . . Freud seems not to have commented on the Expressionist dramatists of his time, but if he had, he could have used their work as persuasive evidence for the existence, indeed the virulence, of the Oedipus complex.
It is as if Gay thought that the imprimatur of the master were needed to legitimize even the most banal of his own opinions.
One would never suspect from reading Modernism that Freud’s theories are now regarded as obsolete by the vast majority of medical practitioners and scientists, or that their erstwhile popularity is widely thought to have slowed the emergence of what the psychiatrist Paul McHugh has termed “evidence-based psychiatry,” a discipline rooted not in theoretical speculation but in empirical research. In a telling metaphor, McHugh argues that modern-day psychiatry “can no more return to the old [Freudian] orthodoxy than Russia can revive the Soviet Union.2
Yet Gay stubbornly persists in presenting Freud not as a figure of historical significance but as a thinker of continuing contemporary relevance, in much the same way that aging Marxist historians like Eric Hobsbawm write about the 20th century as though the events they describe had not themselves demonstrated beyond the possibility of contradiction the nonsensicality of the Marxian theories they use to explain them. The gentlest thing to be said about Gay’s passionate belief in Freud’s relevance is that it lends to Modernism an air of quaintness—one that sits oddly alongside its author’s equally passionate belief in the permanent immediacy of modern art.
What of the “big picture” of modernism painted by Gay? It is, at best, a partial portrait. For him, modernism consists of radical technical innovation placed in the service of “insubordination against ruling authority.” This is a standard to which he hews so rigidly that even Anton Chekhov, an unambiguously modern writer, is said to have “worked at the margins of modernism” because he “did not modify the traditional theater” (a claim that will come as a surprise to anyone who has sat through one of the “well-made,” plot-driven 19th-century plays that Chekhov helped to render as obsolete as Freud’s theories).
Nor is Gay comfortable with those tradition-conscious modernists, like T.S. Eliot and Igor Stravinsky, who used the sharp-angled language of modern art to express their deep and paradoxical longing for a supra-rational authority with which to oppose the chaos of modern life. “It does not follow,” Gay writes strenuously but unbelievably, “that Stravinsky abandoned originality while he searched, as he put it, for order. . . .[T]he religious meanings of [his] Symphony of Psalms, if any, must remain indeterminate.” No less strikingly, Gay devotes just one paragraph to Eliot’s Four Quartets, the religious-themed masterpiece of his middle age, while spending two pages on After Strange Gods, the 1933 lectures in which Eliot allowed free rein to his anti-Semitic views.
Just as Gay ignores or misinterprets the quest for order, so does he appear willfully to overlook the possibility that some branches of modernism were more successful than others. Why did the art-loving public embrace Stravinsky’s neoclassicism but not Schoenberg’s serialism? Why did experimental novels like James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake fail to exert the same enduring appeal as the paintings of the abstract expressionists—or, for that matter, the distinctively modern jazz and popular music about which Gay has nothing at all to say in Modernism? Could it be that, as I have previously argued, there were “in fact two modernisms, one deeply conservative and tradition-based, the other profoundly radical and antinomian,” and that the first of these modernisms, not the second, is the one that has prevailed? 3
Such a possibility seems not to have occurred to Gay. Though he acknowledges the attraction exercised by modernism on the middle class, he persists in dividing the art-consuming public into three distinct groups:
The cultured elite that alone nourishes modernism, the philistine bourgeoisie that professes not to understand the movement, the benighted masses that have no use for it, still exist. But their boundaries have been scrambled. With steady advances in the modern technology of leisure and its apparatuses, the artistic choices of the masses reaching deep into the middle classes have become more pronounced as they are increasingly subjected to advance testing and manipulation.
It is, in short, the old, old story: difficulty per se is a meaningful index of the validity of modern art, while those modernists who opted instead for what Aaron Copland called an “imposed simplicity” are by definition unserious panderers to the philistines. Having made the fatal mistake of supposing that art need not be rebarbatively complex in order to be truly modern, such benighted figures are accordingly excluded from Gay’s pantheon. Small wonder, then, that the word “postmodern” is nowhere to be found in Modernism. Instead, the book ends with a modest hope: even though we now live in a recessive “age of musical comedies,” it could yet be that “a revival of massive modernism” will someday bring about the welcome return of “concerts of difficult composers, exhibitions of difficult painters, printing of difficult poets and novelists, clients for difficult architects, even consumers for difficult movies.”
To be sure, the author of Modernism is pessimistic about the prospects for such a renaissance of difficulty married to the spirit of “insubordination against ruling authority.” Yet no other kind of art, it seems, would be sufficiently demanding for him or satisfy his taste for the arcane delights of “heresy.” In the end, this says more about Peter Gay than it does about modernism. Respond to this Article (page 1 of 1 - view all) Footnotes
1 Norton, 640 pp., $35.00. 2 McHugh’s journalistic writings on the subject of Freud and his influence have been collected in The Mind Has Mountains: Reflections on Society and Psychiatry (2006). 3 “Jazz as Modern Art” (Commentary, January 2003).
About the Author
Terry Teachout, COMMENTARY’s regular music critic and the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal, is writing Hotter Than That: A Life of Louis Armstrong. He blogs about the arts at www.terryteachout.com © 2007 Commentary Inc.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Contemporary artists are entrepreneurs in every sense of the word

Modern art is rightwing Ed Vaizey November 14, 2007 10:00 AM Contemporary art is individualistic and concerned with freedom - characteristics of the right, rather than the left
If asked whether modern art is leftwing - the topic of a debate at the Southbank Centre tonight - most people, and especially a Tory MP such as myself, would be expected to say yes. The question would seem barely to merit a response, much as if it had been asked about the BBC, or indeed The Guardian. But the response would be wrong. Whichever way you look at it, modern, or contemporary art, is rightwing.
Contemporary art is highly individualistic. It is about freedom of expression, the chance to make one's mark and to speak with a distinctive voice - all characteristics of the right, rather than the left. Contemporary artists are entrepreneurs in every sense of the word. The Brit Artists of the 1990s have turned themselves into brands, selling a luxury commodity to a group of discerning purchasers. The Damian Hirst skull, retailing at £50 million, could not remotely be described as a leftwing statement, except in the sense that, like many projects of the left, it is massively over-priced and a colossal waste of money (only kidding Damian). The state has rarely, if ever, supported the creation of art. Indeed, the last time the state - or more accurately the left - engaged in that activity was in the Soviet Union of the 1930s. And even New Labour doesn't want to go down that route yet - does it?
Contemporary artists are busy making money, just like any other capitalist in Britain, or the developed world, today. The contemporary art market is just that, a market where people invest and even people like Hugh Grant can make money. The Frieze Art Fair is a huge trading floor - although its enlightened founders, Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp, recognise their corporate social responsibility by securing an acquisition budget for Tate Modern.
More controversially, perhaps, contemporary British art is not engaged, in my view, in contemporary political debate. That may be a side-effect of the general malaise in British politics and the crowding out of the centre ground. Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I remember the way artists and musicians were hugely engaged in political debate in a way their successors are not today.
While Hirst, Emin, Taylor-Wood, the Chapman Brothers, may create pieces which speak powerfully about the human condition, they do not necessarily speak to us on contemporary political issues. Even the Iraq war has not spawned a powerful movement in the contemporary art world. (Ironically, and perhaps the exception that proves the rule, the highly critical and painfully moving art of the first world war was the product of a state initiative, the war artists advisory scheme, which carried on in the second world war, and still exists today. Think of Steve McQueen and campaign for the stamps bearing the photographs of soldiers killed in Iraq.) The most highly publicised piece on the war, perhaps, is a portrait of George Bush made up of pornographic material, created by Jonathan Yeo.
When artists do once more become engaged on contemporary political issues, I predict it will be on issues and causes that the right, not the left, has championed. This hugely authoritarian government will, at some stage, force artists from their penthouses to speak out on the issues like identity cards, arrest and detention without trial, the massive increase in surveillance and the gradual grinding down of our liberties.
So I say to the contemporary art world - rise up, speak for freedom, speak for your fellow countrymen, and speak from the right. del.icio.us Digg it Tailrank Reddit Newsvine Now Public Technorati This entry was tagged with the following keywords: Comments All Comments (121)
DBIV
Comment No. 924633 November 14 10:09 I think classifying art which is not on the face of it political as being either left-wing or right-wing is as silly as certain languages which classify inanimate objects as masculine or feminine. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
LostCause
Comment No.
924636
November 14 10:09ITA
"Contemporary art is highly individualistic. It is about freedom of expression, the chance to make one's mark and to speak with a distinctive voice - all characteristics of the right, rather than the left."
Pray, what nonsense is this? Blake and Shelley - to name just two "distinctive voices" - will be turning in their graves. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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EdmundIronsides
Comment No.
924662
November 14 10:18GBR
Interesting but completely at odds with most of the evidence. In my experience, 'artists' are almost 100% mushy lefties loathing most things on the 'right'. Their knowledge of the world at large may be miniscule, and their grasp of foreign relations and the meta-facts of British life non-existent, but that doesn't stop them holding rigid views of who is right (commies and anarchists and mavericks) and who is evil (anybody who wears a suit for their job, anybody orthodox, Christians) in the political realm. The freedom you allude to is the freedom beloved of the hippies- the freedom to swear at people in suits, the freedom to sit around your bedsit high on pot all day, the freedom to sneer at Christians and other squares, the freedom to eat what others have grown and wear what others have made without doing anything to benefit anybody else. It isn't freedom at all- it is the spoilt brat resentments of rich peoples children. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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thetrashheap
Comment No.
924668
November 14 10:20USA
Modern art is a con.
I get the same feeling lookig at people who rate modern art as I imagine a lot of people got looking at a naked emperor all those years ago.... [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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olching
Comment No.
924681
November 14 10:26GBR
I find this a fairly compelling and novel argument. Perhaps 'neo-liberal' might describe contemporary art in a better way. There is of course an obvious tension between the artists who consider themselves to be left-wing and Ed Vaizey's analysis. So, despite this article offering an interesting analysis of contemporary art, there is patent flaw which is not easily resolved. It is maybe better to say that contemporary art reflects the current zeitgeist (neo-liberalism). [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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bobdoney
Comment No.
924682
November 14 10:26GBR
"The state has rarely, if ever, supported the creation of art."
A fine, challenging article, Mr Vaizey, but you achieve my highest award (no money attached, I'm afraid) for an Article Based On The Most Complete Preposterous Bollocks. Most arts funding in the UK comes from the state, whether via the Arts Council (including their lottery administration), the Department of Culture etc, local authorities, primary care trusts and so on. The remainder comes mainly from commercial sources, and they're not likely to encourage anything too subversive, are they?
I look forward to your next excursion here, but hope you may favour us with the teeniest modicum of research before you spout off. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Metatone
Comment No.
924685
November 14 10:27GBR
Given that we live with a "right wing" whose major feature is authoritarianism, this is an odd analysis... [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Brusselsexpats
Comment No.
924691
November 14 10:30BEL
I'm a great lover of art generally, including that of the 20th century but this article reminds me of a quote attributed to Picasso.
When asked what one of his paintings represented to him, he replied "A million."
Always preferred Cezanne myself..... [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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usmarine
Comment No.
924700
November 14 10:33
The Damian Hirst skull is tantamount to Satan worship and any attempt to pass it off as "art" should be blocked, just like Hirst's entrance to Heaven will be.
One more "artist" on the fast track to Hell. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LordSummerisle
Comment No.
924720
November 14 10:42USA
@Ed"If asked whether modern art is leftwing - the topic of a debate at the Southbank Centre tonight - most people, and especially a Tory MP such as myself, would be expected to say yes."
If you had any sense you'd say it was a bloody stupid question. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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snoopster
Comment No.
924722
November 14 10:42GBR
What a silly article.
It only holds true if one thinks that the American political system is the definition of right and left wing politics. Which is a childishly simplistic way to view it.
One can be right wing and totalitarian or one can be left wing and totalitarian. One can be right wing and support freedom of the individual (though that often is actually the freedom of big companies to take advantage of the individual) or one can be left wing and support it. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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daveheasman
Comment No.
924725
November 14 10:43GBR
You're probably right, Ed. Modern art certainly doesn't appear to have anything to say about Trade Unionism, the serfdom created in the Health Service by outsourcing, the plight of immigrant workers, accidents in the workplace, the increase in earnings differences....So the only possible left-wing component is the derisory anti-imperialism of the Chapmans. But their riposte to Johann Hari's very good takedown of them was pure adolescent petulance. But then, they're millionaires from Cheltenham, what would you exspect? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Yesterday
Comment No.
924727
November 14 10:43GBR
The Onion had a more intelligent version of this a decade ago:
'Centered in Berlin, Paris and Zurich, the Dadaist movement was launched as a reaction of revulsion to the senseless butchery of World War I. "While the guns rumbled in the distance," Arp said, "we had a dim premonition that power-mad gangsters would one day use art itself as a means of deadening men's minds."'
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29798 [Offensive? Unsuitable? Report this comment.]
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edwardrice
Comment No.
924728
November 14 10:44GBR
bobdoney; " they're not likely to encourage anything too subversive, are they?" I agree. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LEW1S
Comment No.
924730
November 14 10:44FRA
Art is a selfish act as any creative expression apart from design is a selfish act. That is called individualism. A committee has created no art or design of any merit. Whether that can be politicized as conservative values is extremely dubious.
The eighties produced a wealth of art and music because it had something to kick against. Thatcher and the old conservative regime. No body thought about making money out of their art. Money was for city boys. That was the greatest thing about the freedom of expression then. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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dropinbucket
Comment No.
924742
November 14 10:50CAN
the art of politicsbe pretentious
the politics of artbe oblivious
lostcause well said
a spaniel trying to herd sheep [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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cesard
Comment No.
924745
November 14 10:52GBR
Modern art is for the pretentious. You see a canvas that is mostly blank, except for a single brush stroke and the poseurs say "I can see death and destruction, but I can also see hope". [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Mendoza
Comment No.
924772
November 14 11:01GBR
To be honest Ed, the state has been very supportive of art in this country. And of course the most powerful piece of modern art is Guernica, a reaction against the bombing by Spanish fascist forces. Of course there are movements such as the Italian futurists which were rightwing but equally you have early soviet cinema, such as the battleship potemkin which is obviously anything but. As for the YBA's, well selling paintings is nothing new really, is it? Plus you've neatly forgotten about Turner prise winner Jermey Dellers 'Battle of Orgreave' re-inactment. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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uncletoby
Comment No.
924775
November 14 11:02GBR
Surely these are liberal, not conservative values? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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SuperOmega
Comment No.
924779
November 14 11:03GBR
An interesting argument. There's something about art which is not detatchable from liberalism at least. It centres on a very strict notion of invididual authorship and creative potential which tends to mystify the role of the artist - their creative activity is ascribed to an essentially supernatural, transcendent talent. It's a fundamentally undemocratic complex. The modern art establishment and its connection with modern high-end consumerism looks something like a cross between the speculative finance economy and the Catholic church.
Art, which I consider to be a post-Renaissance phenomenon, is about the artist first and the work second, from the minute a piece is placed in a gallery. It's a series of public vanity projects. I have always doubted its critical potential. Even work that is ostensibly anonymous and exists outside the gallery space fails to resist the clutches of the market - look at Banksy. The idea of left wing art seems a contradiction in terms. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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rsaleftie
Comment No.
924787
November 14 11:08ZAF
Well, that's interesting. So modern art is vacuous, self-absorbed and has no discernable message to offer except that its creators want money.
I can live with that analysis.
But then the man says that this shows that modern art represents the quintessence of right-wing politics today.
OK, fair enough.
Wait a minute. Does Vaizey think he's praising either art or the right wing for that? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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jamie86
Comment No.
924789
November 14 11:09GBR
I can't stand how the idea of individualism has been hijacked by the Right as a concept solely achievable through selfish policy.
Oscar Wilde sums it up perfectly in "The Soul of a Man under Socialism", that only when man is free from the restraints of being of a slave to a wage will they be given sufficient enough time to become an individual.
But thats besides the point, this is just another article trying to promote the Cameron's Conservatives as being the current "cool" party. Maybe Cameron can invite Hirst round for a cup of tea just like Blair did with Noel Gallagher. Then again the Daily Mail might not react to kindly to that. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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dropinbucket
Comment No.
924794
November 14 11:10CAN
The modern art establishment and its connection with modern high-end consumerism looks something like a cross between the speculative finance economy and the Catholic church.
Art, which I consider to be a post-Renaissance phenomenon, is about the artist first and the work second, from the minute a piece is placed in a gallery. It's a series of public vanity projects. I have always doubted its critical potential.
thankyou very nicely put,, my sentiments exactly,,and said better than i could,,, [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Lowdowner
Comment No.
924803
November 14 11:13DEU
Corporate control is a tyranny. Art reflects this tyranny.
Tryants flaunt their power. Art is merely a way to flaunt tryanny's wealth.
Consider the open spaces filled with 20m x 20m adverts. In some sense this is modern art too. Repetitive, oppressive, uncaring and selfish, expensive. AND a message; Buy. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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xyzzy
Comment No.
924804
November 14 11:13GBR
``In my experience, 'artists' are almost 100% mushy lefties loathing most things on the 'right'.''
Yes. And the irony is that the first thing that happens when the parties that the mushy lefties support get into power is that they shoot all the mushy leftie artists. It doesn't matter if Osip Mandelstam was left or right-wing: he was a free-thinking and therefore a legitimate target. Few writers, artists or composers have survived left-wing government unscathed, and for every artist that can be held to have been destroyed by Aktion Entartete Kunst (and what would we give now to have seen all the works gathered in Munich?) there are plenty destroyed by the heroes of the left. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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dropinbucket
Comment No.
924805
November 14 11:13CAN
@superomegaThe modern art establishment and its connection with modern high-end consumerism looks something like a cross between the speculative finance economy and the Catholic church.
the key word being "establishment"
Art, which I consider to be a post-Renaissance phenomenon, is about the artist first and the work second, from the minute a piece is placed in a gallery. It's a series of public vanity projects. I have always doubted its critical potential.
promotion before praxis
thankyou very nicely put,, my sentiments exactly,,and said better than i could,,, [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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drbendyspoogun
Comment No.
924808
November 14 11:14GBR
The writer has a point, but one must understand that an artist , like a modern musician care not about their art only themselves. They are facist egotists who impose not any political beliefs just themselves on the world. They want validation, they want fame, they want there names in print and in lights. Anyone who declares themselves an artist are vapid self-obsessed morons whose only wish for humanity is for them to be the centre of it. Anyway, im off to Iran. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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moook
Comment No.
924822
November 14 11:18GBR
This is something I've thought for a while.
All art by its very nature must be encoded so as to be decoded by the viewer. Cultural competancy requires the viewer to have certain levels of aprior knowledge in order to decode the art. Accessible art is easiest to decipher - someone mentioned Blake, who set out his meanings very clearly, yet with some breathing space for the imagination of the viewer.
The more obscure, modern, conceptual bullshit requires a high-level of cultural competancy to decode and therefore is only really decipherable by people already 'in the know' - arts graduates and critics. I'd go as far as to say that minimalist art draws attention away from the object itself and towards the artist - you're trying to work out what was going on in the creator's head rather than what the piece communicates/means to you on a personal level. Producing this sort of art is nothing more than a massive ego trip - Brusselsexpat's Picasso quote hits the nail on the head.
I think the only vaild democratic forms of art left are graffiti and comic books/zines.
(ducks for cover) [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Brusselsexpats
Comment No.
924834
November 14 11:24BEL
Mook - I think you're right to duck for cover....
Crikey - I never thought the topic of modern art would bring so many Guardain stalwarts to the battlements. The chips-on-shoulders are discernible guys. What is it you really hate - art or the art world?
Anyway I attended a great lecture last week on Van Gogh and Gauguin. My turn to duck..... [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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dfic1999
Comment No.
924837
November 14 11:25
This reads on a par with John Redwood's attempt to claim BritPop for Euroscepticism in the 1990s.
I'll keep it simple:
1 - Ed, it all depends on what you mean by 'state funding'. An autocratic ruler or ruling dynasty might patronise art (in both senses) through funding and jobs (cf the Medicis). The state could do so through civic/municipal works (cf the Victorians). Without the creation of the Arts Council, the arts in Britain might be significantly the poorer (culturally and economically). (But then, I remember what the Tories tried to do to that organisation in the 1980s...)
2 - the amount an art object is worth is not proof of its political affiliations: btw, what's that Wilde quote about someone understanding the price of everything, but the value of nothing?
3 - EdV: "Contemporary art is highly individualistic. It is about freedom of expression, the chance to make one's mark and to speak with a distinctive voice - all characteristics of the right, rather than the left." Except when that artist challenges established beliefs in order to break new ground - and gets denounced by those same rightwingers in the name of family, decency, 'traditional values', 'real' art and other such conservative shibboleths.
4 - One can oppose ID cards, make art (and a living) - and still reject the Tories because they continue to believe in freedom for the pike, regardless of what happens to the minnows. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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SuntoryBoss
Comment No.
924861
November 14 11:37GBR
@LordSummerisle
Yup, exactly. What a bizarre thing to do, to try and "claim" modern, non-political art. Where does Harry Potter lie on the political spectrum - we really must be told! What about the telephone directory?
Also, if you're going to be both rude about and clumsily pally with Hirst, you might want to spell his first name correctly. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Outsider1
Comment No.
924865
November 14 11:38ZAF
What difference does it make what the politics of the artist is? Look at the work, not the artist. Some of our greatest artists have been "rightwing". It's an irrelevance. Nobody who actually appreciates art has any interest in the prejudices of its creator. What is contemptible is the denial of access to art by the superrich who buy it as "an investment". [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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olching
Comment No.
924871
November 14 11:40GBR
Well said, Moook (though I think you plagiarised Kim Howells with your 'conceptual bullshit' take on things). And yes, graffiti and comics are, by contrast, truly valuable, democratic forms of art.
While Ed Vaizey celebrates the existence of an individualistic, neo-liberal zeitgeist (reflected in art and brands of art), I see it as an indictment of the current art scene. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
924885
November 14 11:44USA
drbendyspoogun
Comment No. 924808
November 14 11:14GBR
"The writer has a point, but one must understand that an artist , like a modern musician care not about their art only themselves. They are facist egotists who impose not any political beliefs just themselves on the world. They want validation, they want fame, they want there names in print and in lights. Anyone who declares themselves an artist are vapid self-obsessed morons whose only wish for humanity is for them to be the centre of it. Anyway, im off to Iran."
ICK - you may not appreciate modern art or music - it is a matter of taste, after all, but to condemn every artist as you do is tantamount to your egotism & non- understanding. If the path of the peacemaker, of happiness, is being open & receptive, & at one with their experience, then settling the score is the path of making war. Whereby agression give birth to aggression & violence to violence & nothing is settled by that. Anyway... I'd rather be making art - modern or not, than war.
You say the artist is only about 'self'. There is an element of this but it has to be.
When we start out, we are "one-with". We have a sense of our interconnectedness, though we might not use that fancy word. The artist is simply listening & there. And then, split! We might pull back into our own worry or concern or elation - whatever. The work of art is always where it's at, though. Somehow we're no longer together. Now it's a little more about me & self rather than them & other but that applies to most things that require one's own personal creative input. By contrast, being "one-with" is neither about other or about self - it's just totally open, present, there. And that is what most art's about - be it of any era. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LEW1S
Comment No.
924905
November 14 11:51FRA
Since the conservatives have knocked every piece if industry out the country. Our only biggest export is the art and music industry. Maybe that was the BIG Conservative plan.
What I don't understand is the amount of hate mail about "Modern Art." Modern when? Picasso? Rothko? Piper? Nicholson? Sarah Lucas? Louis Bourgoise? (She's 95).
But then hate of modern art truly started with the demolishing of Rachael Whitereads' 'Monument'.
I think we had conservative government at the time. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
924922
November 14 11:57USA
Outsider1
Comment No. 924865
November 14 11:38ZAF
"What is contemptible is the denial of access to art by the superrich who buy it as "an investment"."
Why is this contemptible? Don't people pay a lot for designer clothes today? Not that I do...but if I had the money I might - I mean some designer clothes take a helluvah lot of time & artistry to make. Wouldn't you buy a good make of car as an investment? Mind you paying thousands for a dress is rather absurd but still. Thing is...money has no value today, anyway. And you can buy cheaper art & that's in a way the fun of it. You buy - say at Frieze - if you have the money & collect, something you think could appreciate in value. It's interesting to see who makes it & who doesn't. I don't happen to like a lot of the art around today but then being an artist perhaps puts me in a more critical category.I dunno. I don't buy art for investment myself & mostly all investors who do, will tell you they buy art because they like it - the investment side of things is a sideline thing. They pay because they have the money & they are passionate about art. That's the first rule - always buy what you like not what you think will be a good investment. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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moook
Comment No.
924932
November 14 12:00GBR
@ Brusselsexpat
lol! FTR I love art, hate the art world - I'd agree with olching and say that I think the sort of stuff that gets promoted and hung in the top galleries is a sad indictment of our elitest, post-thatcherite society.
I have studied art and have artist friends (she says, sounding like a racist who says 'some of my best friends are black,') so I am not anti-artist, just anti-conceptual art. I think that the yawning chasm between the feted dross that sits in the galleries and the inexerable Jack Vettriano/IKEA shite that hangs in people's homes is indicative of the increasingly anti-intellectual aspects of society - one culture for us, and one for them. There's no common ground, no room for discourse anymore. My working-class grandparents listened to classical music, read quality literature and hung fine-art prints in their home - hope I don't sound snobbish by saying you just don't seem to get that anymore. There seems to be a fear of 'high' culture, and the cliquey 'high' culture isn't making it any easier for people to overcome that fear.
(and breathe...)
@ LEWIS - I'm talking about minimalist and conceptual art. I love a lot of modern art.
@ oching - knowingly plagiarised!
Rant over, I'm off for a run... [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
924939
November 14 12:02USA
LEW1S
Comment No. 924905
November 14 11:51FRA
"What I don't understand is the amount of hate mail about "Modern Art." Modern when? Picasso? Rothko? Piper? Nicholson? Sarah Lucas? Louis Bourgoise? (She's 95).
But then hate of modern art truly started with the demolishing of Rachael Whitereads' 'Monument'."
Spot on. And Rachel Whiteread's work is great - & she is a v interesting, unprentious artist, too. That should never have been demolished. Such a shame. The prob is people just want to recognise what they're looking at & often with modern art - they don't. I think it's really a kind of fear. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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dropinbucket
Comment No.
924953
November 14 12:07CAN
drbendyspoogunComment No. 924808Anyone who declares themselves an artist are vapid self-obsessed morons whose only wish for humanity is for them to be the centre of it.""""""""
well thats my 35 years of community goodwill down the drainthanks bendy
care not about their art only themselves. They are facist egotists who impose not any political beliefs just themselves on the world."""""""""
damm right,,my community is going to learn about and shareart because i say so,,and they better damm well smile at the same time,,
they want there names in print""""""ah well thats what cif is for innit?
Brusselsexpats Comment No. 924834
Anyway I attended a great lecture last week on Van Gogh and Gauguin. My turn to duck.....
you just rolled out two large calibre cannons,,why duck ? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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drbendyspoogun
Comment No.
924987
November 14 12:19GBR
Parisa, taking in account your verbous post, you must be an neo maxi anti minimalist.
"you may not appreciate modern art or music - it is a matter of taste, after all, but to condemn every artist as you do is tantamount to your egotism & non- understanding"
Also please don't patronise me by saying i don't understand, i just believe valid art cannot exist as a commodity and no amount of post-modern attempts at irony can save it, critiquing the system using its own language has become boring, and the constant re-use of the flowers protruding from gun barrels cliche can not stop the rot. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
924992
November 14 12:20USA
Brusselsexpats Comment No. 924834
"Anyway I attended a great lecture last week on Van Gogh and Gauguin. My turn to duck....."
No need to duck! And poor Van Gogh died penniless. (altho' with a name like that no wonder he went mad - no one can pronounce it properly!) [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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humptydumpty
Comment No.
925003
November 14 12:26GBR
Brusselsexpats - "a quote attributed to Picasso. When asked what one of his paintings represented to him, he replied "A million."
You mustn't take literally everything you read, Sprout. Picasso was famously playful, you know........
"Always preferred Cezanne myself....."
So has it to be one or the other? Can't be both?
Have you seen the Rik Wouters in Brussels? Two beauties in the very bottom gallery in the Musee d'Art Moderne on Place Royale, and another two in the Musee van Buuren in Uccle.
LordSummerisle - "If you had any sense you'd say it was a bloody stupid question."
Quite right, my Lord. Glad to see the years of foie gras and truffles haven't blunted your cutting edge. :)
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Craigoh
Comment No.
925027
November 14 12:34USA
'I don't know much about art...'
...but I do know that authoritarians can spring from either the 'conservative' or 'progressive' camps.
Just as liberals like me can have broadly centre-left views (as I do), or broadly centre-right views.
I for one infinitely prefer the spirit and politics of liberal Lefties (Benn) and liberal Tories (seems there are still a few) to authoritarian Tories (EG: Howard) and authoritarian Labourites (Blunkett, Reid, etc).
Nonetheless, a very good article by Ed Vaizey, I have quibbled slightly with his analysis / nomenclature, but his heart is in the right place.
As this sentence shows:
"This hugely authoritarian government will, at some stage, force artists from their penthouses to speak out on the issues like identity cards, arrest and detention without trial, the massive increase in surveillance and the gradual grinding down of our liberties."
Having said all the above...
Artists may see themselves as lefties, but most are liberal in outlook, and most BritArt types are happy to make truckloads of cash. Guess that does make them Tories after all. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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daveheasman
Comment No.
925052
November 14 12:41GBR
LEW1S "But then hate of modern art truly started with the demolishing of Rachael Whitereads' 'Monument'.
I think we had conservative government at the time."
I recall her "House" being demolished by Tower Hamlets Council. They claimed to be LibDem but actually I think they were old Labour renegades. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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daveheasman
Comment No.
925053
November 14 12:41GBR
LEW1S "But then hate of modern art truly started with the demolishing of Rachael Whitereads' 'Monument'.
I think we had conservative government at the time."
I recall her "House" being demolished by Tower Hamlets Council. They claimed to be LibDem but actually I think they were old Labour renegades. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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dropinbucket
Comment No.
925076
November 14 12:45CAN
bendy si just believe valid art cannot exist as a commodity and no amount of post-modern attempts at irony can save it
well if you had said that in the begining i would have saidtoo bloody right mate,,got it in one [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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deepblue
Comment No.
925117
November 14 12:56FRA
bobdoney
You took the words out of my mouth. I read this article with bemusement at first and then sheer amazement. Having been a memeber of a Northern Arts Panel I know both how and how much Britain susbsidises its young artists with potential.
(The following, of course, is not addressed to you!)
The general arguement, " Whichever way you look at it modern, or contempoary, art is right wing. Contemporary art is highly individualistic. It is about freedom of expression, the chance to make one's mark and to speak with a distinctive voice - all characteristics of the right rather than the left".
What uttere claptrap. Words fail me. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LEW1S
Comment No.
925129
November 14 13:00FRA
daveheasman
I think you're splitting hairs.
I also remember that particular councillor saying 'that Monument should be demolished as it said nothing about the Londoners of the East End as Rachael Whiteread was not an Eastender.' As a representative of Eastenders he had a good Birmingham accent [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Brusselsexpats
Comment No.
925136
November 14 13:04BEL
Hello HumptyDumpty - great name by the way - I know Picasso was being playful but he was a committed lefty who was worth about 90 million pounds when he died.
I don't dislike Picasso, just prefer Cezanne for some, probably subconscious, reason. Actually prefer Turner to either of them. Also love painters like Miro and Klimt. The Dada movement was mentioned earlier - I studied that at one time together with the Fauvists. The first half of the last century was such a rich period for modern art.
Thanks for the tip on Rik Wouters. I work opposite the royal palace, very close to Place Royale and will certainly take a look. They have this great exhibition on Rubens at the moment.
Have a good day. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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ashcore
Comment No.
925154
November 14 13:12
left wing and right wing are hopelessly inadequate as descriptions of political standpoints, let alone art. you fail, ed. [Offensive? Unsuitable? Report this comment.]
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tarpaulin
Comment No.
925157
November 14 13:13FRA
Add to bobdoney's list of state-funded arts those archetypal 60s institutions, art colleges, where young ne'er-do-wells went before joining rock bands and creating some culture: Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Mick Jagger (I think), Jeff Beck etc.
Question: if art is meant to explore and reflect the human condition, surely its task is to explore that which makes us human, which may include what we habitually express in the form of political views, but is not limited to it and certainly not defined by it?
Isn't trying to say that "art is right/left-wing" putting the cart before the horse, akin to saying that politics precedes existence rather than the other way round?
What about the cave paintings at Lascaux? What political stance do they have? Or the Atacama giant or Stonehenge or any other creation by people without an awareness of the specific political ideologies developed during the 19th/20th century?
Other question: are you sure you're not confusing "art" with "artists" themselves, who may be ippy dippy hippies or self-serving materialists (i.e. whose politics may be on either end of the political spectrum as we conceive of it and all points in between), but whose art, if it is any good, probably treads no such hard-and-fast lines. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
925187
November 14 13:21USA
drbendyspoogun
Comment No. 924987
November 14 12:19GBR
Parisa, taking in account your verbous post, you must be an neo maxi anti minimalist.
"you may not appreciate modern art or music - it is a matter of taste, after all, but to condemn every artist as you do is tantamount to your egotism & non- understanding"
"Also please don't patronise me by saying i don't understand,"
I'm not anything of the sort & anyway not what you say I am. I didn't say YOU don't understand I said the PUBLIC who condemn modern art don't understand. I said for the most part, folk just want to be able to recognize what's in front of them - I think that's perfectly reasonable. If you wanna take that personally, entirely up to you.
Actually I tend to agree that valid art cannot exist as a commodity - nothing wrong with that statement. What was wrong was your condemnation of artists & lumping everyone under one umbrella. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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tarpaulin
Comment No.
925191
November 14 13:21FRA
OK I appreciate that the original piece specifically focusses on *contemporary* artists and I have taken a general line, but it seems to me the discussion has turned to the general. In any case, what is so very different, in terms of artistic worth/interest, between art created yesterday and art created hundreds or thousands of years ago?
I have also just worked out what a piece of shameless politicking the article is: the last sentence basically says "intellectuals, vote Tory!" [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Notsofanatic
Comment No.
925239
November 14 13:36USA
What a strange article and perspective - refreshing though. While anything that's said in the Guardian that favors or maybe even remotely positive about 'rightwing' sounds like music to my ears, Im gonna have to disagree with a good part of what is said here; not all.
Art is both, the talk and food of soul and, most of the times, its best expressions have been result of harsh conditions and dissent. As someone from a country of the former soviet block put it, journalism was art, poetry; during those days the few words of freedom to come out (mean went 'through' the restrictive system) were attentively read and listened to, because they were so scarce, therefore valued. Today is all abuse of those rights so it's become a commercial stuff, clichés.
Modern art is the same. When Picasso draw Guernica it was painful expression of the suffering of Spain at the time. Today, most artists are simply packaging their art masqueraded as dissent-leftwing-liberal because it sells better that way; at the same time, modern artists are well aware of the system and infrastructure that supports this 'packaging' which is, as the author says, individualistic and highly profitable (rightwing).
Same can be said of movies; the more critical, liberal, multiculturalists, less conservative in message and meaning, etc, the more they will sell; and of course, producers, directors and actors will go laughing all the way to the bank. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LEW1S
Comment No.
925252
November 14 13:38FRA
Why isn't this article in the Arts Blog section?Or does it need to be ratified by the unbeloved Jonathan Jones [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Jay73
Comment No.
925264
November 14 13:42GBR
Modern art is a dishonest and self-serving illusion which takes money away from a population which it expressly excludes with its output, to feather its own nest and create something that is only appreciated by the privileged few who steal a living enriching themselves on it.
And here we have a Tory who likes that.
Fancy. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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drbendyspoogun
Comment No.
925265
November 14 13:43GBR
Parisa.
I lumped all artists in together as i don't see anyway art can prevent itself being a commodity in a capitalist society. Therefore those who deem themselves artists even though that art isn't valid are interested only in themselves. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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bulbosaur
Comment No.
925311
November 14 13:58GBR
The contemporary art world is an extremely mixed message. The predominant language is left wing - that is, it remains a post-marxist mishmash of 'commodification', 'acculturation' and other such Frederick Jameson-type verbiage. The apparatus of the art market is nakedly right wing, in that it uses capital and the labour of artists to make profit as well as intangigble lustre. The mandarin culture of the arts world is 'liberal establishment' and you should expect most senior contemporary arts curators to be Labour supporters.
Because art is a commodity that enjoys a special status - it is considered both pedagogic and prestigious, used for national public relations as well as to domestic utilitarian purpose - we are at a situation where the so-called 'avant garde' work (usually and often wrongly termed 'conceptualism') acts in service to the state, and that conservative artforms of horse painting, potraiture or whatever are derided, dated niche markets. The public sector establishment will promote 'cutting edge' work that does well at Freize and Basel art fairs, thereby supporting an investment market that is destroying the public sector's own ability to acquire work. Art has always followed power from Medici to Getty.
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CarlitoBrigante
Comment No.
925327
November 14 14:01GBR
"Modern art is right-wing""Contemporary art is individualistic and concerned with freedom - characteristics of the right, rather than the left"
Oh yes: like Adolf Hitler, the 'Great Painter', he was a little to the right wasn't he?And of course the, 'no hoper', George Grosz, who joined the Communist party, stood no chance!
Unless you enjoy displaying your ignorance of the subject, take at least a foundation course on the history of Modern Art, which began before you were born, before you open your privileged cakehole.A few modern artists, and here I refer to those moderns who's works have stood the test of time, not your flash-in-the-bedpan dirty-bed artists, did arise from privileged upbringings.But out of that group almost all of them leaned decidedly to Socialism (and hah, I'm not referring here to your mirror image, NewLabour) and they were invariably regarded as 'black sheep of the family' for doing so.I really have to agree with most of the derisive comments here, such as Bobdoney's.
I would extend Metatone's point and say that most worthy modern artistic expression, (I'm loathe to include 'controversial art' due to it's inherent transience and restricted expression) has arisen as an innate protest within the individual spirit to authoritariancircumstances.Here I refer to the paradox of those expressionist painters who arose both in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.
At the risk of being censored, I'm going to level the most offensive comment at you I can muster, Ed:-
..You sound just like the Great Twaddle Salesman, Tony Blair... I warned you! [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
925350
November 14 14:07USA
drbendyspoogun
Comment No. 925265
November 14 13:43GBR
Parisa.
"I lumped all artists in together as i don't see anyway art can prevent itself being a commodity in a capitalist society. Therefore those who deem themselves artists even though that art isn't valid are interested only in themselves."
Nope - you were offensive to artists & they have to eat & earn a living too. As well as come up with the goods. And who are you to say their work isn't valid? I know many artists & some of their work is good & some bad but all are human beings - just people, you know? Sorry I think you're being unreasonable & nasty & to be frank I don't really know what the hell you're trying to say.
"They are facist egotists who impose not any political beliefs just themselves on the world. They want validation, they want fame, they want there names in print and in lights. Anyone who declares themselves an artist are vapid self-obsessed morons whose only wish for humanity is for them to be the centre of it. Anyway, im off to Iran."
"They are fascist egotists" - really got it in for artists, haven't you?! Or is it you just hate art?
"They want validation" - well, who doesn't?
"They want fame" - not all
"They want their names in print & in lights" - twaddle
"They are self-obsessed morons," etc etc. And you aren't?!
Pathetic. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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drbendyspoogun
Comment No.
925407
November 14 14:28GBR
"They are self-obsessed morons," etc etc. And you aren't?!"
ermm no.
I think the last time someone won an argument with the word twaddle was 1927, so don't think its going to work now.
You said yourself that art that is commodified is invalid.
"Actually I tend to agree that valid art cannot exist as a commodity"
so your argument has kind of fallen apart, but never mind i'm sure someone will buy your jewellery made from computer circuit boards, see you at Spitalfields! [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LordSummerisle
Comment No.
925413
November 14 14:31USA
@humptydumpty"Quite right, my Lord. Glad to see the years of foie gras and truffles haven't blunted your cutting edge. :)"
Ah, things have changed!
I used to have my peasants force feed geese so the gentry could eat their fattened livers. However, after a while I started to wonder why I bothered with geese .... [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Brusselsexpats
Comment No.
925417
November 14 14:32BEL
Blimey - this article has hit an anti-intellectual spot. We wouldn't be having this discussion in Rome or Paris (or Brussels for that matter) and certainly not in Antwerp, which in parts resembles a live-in art gallery. We accept art as part of our national heritage, without question, and revere the people who provide or have provided it. I was being dragged around art galleries almost from the time I could walk and no one thought it unusual for a young child.
This is not a question of right vs left in the arts. Hell, even Stalin loved the ballet as does Fidel Castro I believe. This is just another take on nasty class-war politics. No one is forced into an art gallery with a gun at their backs. Stay in and watch Celebrity Big Brother if that's your thing. I'm sure the "stars" there never do anything to make money or draw attention to themselves. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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sapient
Comment No.
925452
November 14 14:46AUS
Dropinbucket.
Was this the site you directed me to? Went first to "Art".Saw column "Big buyers out in Force", Edward Helmore.Quote: Never mind prognostications about investment potential, one truism of auction buying was confirmed last night "an artworld still needs an emotional drive behind it."
Parisa was drawn to your comments in 924885 and 924922.
Re: Rachael Whitereads. Have tried to find something I like, (not to purchase), but so far nothing to my taste.
I have learnt that not all works of an artist are trully creative, i.e. in my estimation, in fact likely only a small minority fall into this category.
For unfortunately sometimes when the artist is fully appreciated their art can become 'commercial.' Sole Exhibitions require a number of works submitted; artistry cannot be compelled, a deadline for such likely inhibits.
Perhaps it is time for some to learn to become more discerning and not simply to buy on the 'name'.
Not every modern painter produces a 'creative work of art'; we need to discern the piece if for investment, however as I think Parisa said, many buy for enjoyment, the investment is secondary.
In 1963 I purchased an extremely finely crafted figurine, second hand in Soho. At that time the purchase price was four times my weekly salary. When viewed by my English relative, she was aghast. "If you were going to spend that amount, why did you not buy a painting?" True shipping a breakable object, half way around the world, was nonsensical. But I liked it, I still do. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LEW1S
Comment No.
925454
November 14 14:46FRA
CarlitoBriganteWell said and totally agree.
Like Brusselsexpats I don't see this sort of 'antism' in Paris.Art is not just a discussion of hate here. It's enjoyed for whatever form it takes by those who are interested by it.
The search for celebraty culture is with the 'jetset' e.g. Paris Hilton. Not with the likes of how much Damian Hirst or the French equivalent, Sophie Calle is getting at auction.
What is it with all this anger? Shame its not used aginst some political despot rather than 'artists.' [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
925472
November 14 14:55USA
drbendyspoogun
Comment No. 925407
November 14 14:28GBR
"They are self-obsessed morons," etc etc. And you aren't?!"
ermm no.
I think the last time someone won an argument with the word twaddle was 1927, so don't think its going to work now.
You said yourself that art that is commodified is invalid.
"Actually I tend to agree that valid art cannot exist as a commodity"
so your argument has kind of fallen apart, but never mind i'm sure someone will buy your jewellery made from computer circuit boards, see you at Spitalfields!
Nope - my argument has not fallen apart - I said that I didn't like the idea of valid art existing as commodity - don't put words in my mouth, please. That doesn't mean to say that it is invalid or that it is a commodity - you are muddying the waters. And you still were offensive to artists for no good reason.
And what makes you think I make jewellery?! I'm a painter not a jeweller. And I wouldn't sell my jewellery at Spitalfields even if I were a jeweller! Though I have sold my paintings for some profit - as I said, I have to eat, too. Does that make my work invalid? Stoooopid. I happen to like the word twaddle, too - if you don't then don't use it but don't dictate to me what words to use & what words not to - how absurd. Really you're just pulling my chain - sorry it won't work.
And really you have no argument. Or at least your argument is totally unrealistic & elitist. I also feel that - as I said, it is better to make art than war. Better to be creative than not. And better not to insult & cause offence where none is needed. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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RobertStanfield
Comment No.
925485
November 14 14:58GBR
"The state has rarely, if ever, supported the creation of art. Indeed, the last time the state - or more accurately the left - engaged in that activity was in the Soviet Union of the 1930s."
That's not quite true. The CIA covertly supported the abstract expressionist movement in the US as exemplifying individual expression. At least one of the CIA leadership was a genuine fun of the stuff.
"While Hirst, Emin, Taylor-Wood, the Chapman Brothers, may create pieces which speak powerfully about the human condition, they do not necessarily speak to us on contemporary political issues."
I think that is closer, though personally I don't think they speak particularly powerfully.
If one can crudely generalise - at least about the Brit-art phenomenon, I would agree that it exemplifies entrepreneurialism, but also the pseudo-leftish academic influence of Theory. The explanatory screeds besides the works have become, as Duchamp predicted, more important than the works themselves, which are often banal one-joke affairs. The art establishment as a whole has connived in this and perhaps even believes it - hence the tate 'Curator of Intepretation' (translation: we'll tell you what to think about the art work).
I think the influence of advertising, also, is evidenced both in the commercial astuteness of the artists but also in the insubstantiality of what they sell. In some cases, as in the work of Martin Creed's light going on and off, this is a literal insubstantiality. In others it is an unapologetic packaging of someone else's creation (play a classic film in slow motion). Finally, I've seen it argued that many successful modern artists don't display the same variety in development in their careers as was once the case. People tend to like a Hirst to look like a Hirst, or at least to have been manufactured according to some typically Hirstian outsourcing conceit. The agents and gallery owners thus discourage too much in the way of experimentation and development that might render the works unfamiliar. That's not to say that such artists don't ever try to vary or develop, but rather that they have little or no incentive to do so.
I'm not sure that the artists are right-wing in the way this article asserts. It does seem to me, however, that modern art in recent years has often amounted to a facile re-telling of Duchamp's jokes. I find it - for all the strenuous theory jargon - intellectually simplistic, morally blank and aesthetically dull. Postmodern art is a retread of modernism but, as with literature in those fields, the former is so often simply not as good as its parent. The greatest living artist, in my view, in aesthetic and intellectual terms, is Gerhard Richter. He really understands and concerns himself with ideas and how they relate to art. He's a painter who disbelieves in painting but goes on doing it brilliantly. He's dedicated to art at the same time as he is one of its best deconstructors.
I don't think the entire Brit Art mob put together are fit to wash his brushes. By comparison they are intellectual pigmies (that shouldn't necessarily matter in art because, as a poet once pointed out to Degas, art is about arranging paint or words, not necessarily about articulating ideas'; however Brit Art has made 'concept' central or even total to its presentation, and the concepts are often weak, one note affairs). They are also technically inferior. The Chapman Brothers defacing of Goya prints is an infantile acknowledgement of this. If only the man who took a hammer to David had a larger vocabulary of Theory jargon, he might not have been dismissed so easily as a resentful crank (Their McDonalds 'tribal art' was good, though, but that was because it was more than a simple idea behind it, and was worth looking at for a variety of reasons). [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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drbendyspoogun
Comment No.
925569
November 14 15:25GBR
I did not put words into your mouth that was a direct quote so either your backtracking or the debate is going a bit too quick for you. Its better to make art than war comment is as trite as i have seen on CIF. Its better to make cake than commit rape, but i don't think i need to raise that point. The fact that you have now said both 'twaddle' and 'stooooopid' has made it apparent that your paintings are created using a mixture of non-toxic paints and potatoes. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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humptydumpty
Comment No.
925588
November 14 15:33GBR
Brusselsexpats: Hallo and thanks!
- "Picasso was a committed lefty who was worth about 90 million pounds when he died."
True, but he was something of a philanthropist, too, you know. He dug deep into his pocket to help Catalans and Spaniards fleeing from Franco after the Spanish Civil War. And how many great artists over the centuries have won "nice guy" awards?
"The first half of the last century was such a rich period for modern art."
I agree. Movement followed movement with helter-skelter abandon.
"They have this great exhibition on Rubens at the moment"
Yes, I saw it a fortnight ago. And in the Kokinklijk Museum voor Schoe Kiunsten in Antwerp there's a great self-portrait by a relatively unknown artist called Leon Spilliaert (1881 - 1946)- it'll knock you out, Sprout. And also this great masterpiece by Jean Fouquet - the colour of the Virgin's dress is miraculous.
http://www.memo.fr/Media/Diptyque_Melun.jpg
But close your eyes as you go up the stairs from the main hall -there's something there that'll send the CiF fems into paroxysms of indignation! A tout a l'heure!
LordSummerisle - "I used to have my peasants force feed geese so the gentry could eat their fattened livers. However, after a while I started to wonder why I bothered with geese ...."
My Lord, I've had to pull you up before now about this kind of heartlessness. Your recent exposure to Bush's America is coarsening your sensibilities. Up on Brokeback Mountain they may get up to malpractices which dare not speak their name, but you're forgetting that here across the Pond cannibalism is still frowned upon, even in respect of chavs and trailer trash, so kindly issue your gamekeeper with the appropriate instructions, will you? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LostCause
Comment No.
925632
November 14 15:51ITA
humpty - he might have been a philanthropist, but I'm not sure that many of the women in Picasso's life would have agreed that he was a "nice guy"... [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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sapient
Comment No.
925637
November 14 15:53AUS
dib.
I've just spotted the newest art critic on the block.
Parisa,I thought you were going to bed some time ago. Forgot to add I had agreed with what you said for the most part in the posts I mentioned. Put the oil back on, the water will run off.
Re something tranquil for the commission - sea, slight waves, no human structure or life.
Landscape - again, no human structure or life.
Blue sky, fluffy clouds.
Night sky, moon, glittering stars, although maybe a little invigorating. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LEW1S
Comment No.
925674
November 14 16:05FRA
Got to admit it though, Ed Vaizey's article is crap philo. Lots of pastry no filling.
Hey that's new concept better jet my mannequines out and start joining them together. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
925706
November 14 16:14USA
drbendyspoogun
Comment No. 925569
November 14 15:25GBR
"I did not put words into your mouth that was a direct quote so either your backtracking or the debate is going a bit too quick for you. Its better to make art than war comment is as trite as i have seen on CIF. Its better to make cake than commit rape, but i don't think i need to raise that point. The fact that you have now said both 'twaddle' and 'stooooopid' has made it apparent that your paintings are created using a mixture of non-toxic paints and potatoes."
You have no arguments you just want to air your prejudices & vent your scorn upon those who don't agree with you & I wouldn't be the only one who doesn't agree with you - judging from the other posts. Still it's quite amusing having apoplectic philistines airing their negativity & incapable of seeing how smug & limited their own understanding is. Still, you're free to expose your threadbare viewpoint.
_______sapient
November 14, 2007 3:53 PM
I was going to bed but.....
"Re something tranquil for the commission - sea, slight waves, no human structure or life.
Landscape - again, no human structure or life.
Blue sky, fluffy clouds.
Night sky, moon, glittering stars, although maybe a little invigorating."
I have done a seascape/ skyscape before now - it won a prize many moons ago - it was in some magazine. I'm mainly landscape, really but anyway not figurative - you guessed perhaps. I like your ideas for the commission - I will try to use them - I especially like the nite sky, moon & stars - will try to incoporate them - but it will be in an abstract way. Thanx!
btw - have you tried painting yourself? Sounds like you could be good.
______ [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
925749
November 14 16:27USA
I think the prob is that too many artists & art interpreters pose as philosophers - artists are crap philosophers. They should stick to art. If you wanna be a philosopher, be a philosopher - that's what I say! [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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drbendyspoogun
Comment No.
925771
November 14 16:32GBR
"it won a prize many moons ago - it was in some magazine."
I rest my case. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Brusselsexpats
Comment No.
925797
November 14 16:43BEL
Humptydumpty - I'm due a visit to the Museum of Schone Kunsten in Antwerp. I expect to be duly horrified by whatever's lurking on the stairs....
I agree that artists don't need to be "nice" people. Think of Wagner or Evelyn Waugh. Or the great Michaelangelo.
Parisa - I know the problem. It's hard to get to bed when you're all fired up on a topic. Happens to me all the time. I'm a walking advert for insomnia. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
925800
November 14 16:43USA
There was an art blog at Le Grauniad before - is it still running? I haven't looked lately. They invited people to write their fave artists on there some time ago - you were meant to do 50 or something but I got carried away & did about 75. I wish I'd saved it, ho hum. I'll never remember them again! There is some really glorious art in the world - we are so v lucky. As well, the museums & galleries today have computers & you can check out many wonderful works on the internet - I think that's fantastic.
The last exhibition I went to in the US was brilliant - it was Robert Rauschenberg: Combines. I also popped into see the five Klimts before they went on to the Neue Galerie in New York. These paintings had been owned by the successful businessman, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer and his Viennese family. The Nazis took control of their entire estate in 1938, including paintings that had been commissioned by Ferdinand, two portraits of his adored wife, Adele, plus three landscapes. After World War II was over, the heirs of the family were unable to restore ownership of the paintings. However, more recently, a long court battle ensued with Maria Altmann, a niece of the Bloch-Bauers, and other heirs winning the rights to the stolen property. These five paintings were shown on temporary display in Los Angeles and New York. Quite took one's breath away with their beauty. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
925817
November 14 16:49USA
drbendyspoogun
Comment No. 925771
November 14 16:32GBR
"it won a prize many moons ago - it was in some magazine."
"I rest my case."
Well, you say it's about self-promotion & the answer to that is "no - it's about communication". You have no case. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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sapient
Comment No.
925831
November 14 16:54AUS
Parisa.
Painting - yes, cartoons yes, not moons but aeons ago; I didn't have the patience to persevere. I'm lazy.
'Tis early morning here; off to bed for me.f [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
925842
November 14 16:58USA
Brusselsexpats
Comment No. 925797
November 14 16:43BEL
Brusselsexpats
Comment No. 925797
November 14 16:43BEL
"I'm due a visit to the Museum of Schone Kunsten in Antwerp."
I'm v keen to do Antwerp someday - I've heard it's a great city but that's not my main reason - my dad grew up there - he was going to try to go back but didn't make it. I've always been curious. A friend has visited & said it's wonderful - lots of art, great buildings & eateries & a thriving young community, too.
______
LostCause
November 14, 2007 3:51 PM
"humpty - he might have been a philanthropist, but I'm not sure that many of the women in Picasso's life would have agreed that he was a "nice guy"..."
Well, we don't know, do we? I mean can we really know? And do we really care? The man could draw & paint - & that's really what counts. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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LEW1S
Comment No.
925864
November 14 17:04FRA
Parisa are you on drugs?They're terribly bad for you.Stick to the article not to Klimt. He's dead and decoration not stomach churning thought provoking, mind bending, strong stuff like other painters of his time.Maybe Klimts' a girl thing. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Brusselsexpats
Comment No.
925889
November 14 17:15BEL
Parisa - if you do make it to Antwerp, give me a shout. After all this I'll stand you lunch.
Sweet dreams. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
925945
November 14 17:33USA
LEW1S
Comment No. 925864
November 14 17:04FRA
"Parisa are you on drugs?They're terribly bad for you.Stick to the article not to Klimt. He's dead and decoration not stomach churning thought provoking, mind bending, strong stuff like other painters of his time.Maybe Klimts' a girl thing."
Many people take drugs to enhance their perception of the world. Artist's work enhances perceptions of the world. As as artist, I don't feel any need of recourse to drugs. Obviously you don't like Klimt - BIG DEAL. Your perogative.
____
Brusselsexpats
November 14, 2007 5:15 PM
"Parisa - if you do make it to Antwerp, give me a shout. After all this I'll stand you lunch.
Sweet dreams."
Fine but I wouldn't reserve a table just yet - gotta make some dosh first & Christmas is coming - groan.
catcha later [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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biba100mejico
Comment No.
925973
November 14 17:42MEX
Neo Con Artists. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Apalled
Comment No.
925989
November 14 17:50GBR
The state hasn't supported art except in the Soviet Union in the 1930s? The Iraq War hasn't spawned an artistic response? Artists in penthouses?
Vaizey: take your essay and report to the Warden of your alma mater, art historian Professor Dame Jessica Rawson. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Heresiarch
Comment No.
925992
November 14 17:52GBR
If modern art is left-wing, why is Charles Saatchi so keen on it? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Hype07
Comment No.
926015
November 14 18:03GBR
For Ed Vaizey to on about art and the Iraq War in an intellectual way has to be joke. After all this is the man who responded to a question about why the Iraq war was executed with the stunning insight that '9/11 happened...' and so on.
He has no credibility and never will. His buffoonish likeability may endear him to some sections of the public, but anyone who answers a question (about such a grave issue)in such flimsy fashion deserves contempt. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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somethingforjoey
Comment No.
926036
November 14 18:08GBR
The concepts of 'left wing' and 'right wing' are completely opposed to the concept of 'freedom'. To be a free individual would be to leave behind such concepts. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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MartynInEurope
Comment No.
926216
November 14 19:52TUR
Why did the CIA invest so much in abstract art? because it meant something, or because it could sometimes mean any sort of bollocks? the sort of postmodern, anything can be anything syndrome, that leads to "torture" is "fun", and worse? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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ElyDog
Comment No.
926231
November 14 20:04CAN
I was thinking that American art was dead. Now I know why.
The stupid crack about the Russians ignores the fact that constructivism was years ahead of anything the British or American were producing. They were still doing colorful landscapes.
There are no recognizable artistic 'movements' right now, just a bunch of individuals shouting "Me, me, me." Art from third and second world countries, where there is still a 'painterly' tradition, actually has something to say. I can't say that for the post-modern, 'modern' art.
They are too busy being petit-entrepeneurs. Even the last real movement, abstract expressionism, inspired by Picasso, would blanch. Now it's 'all about the money.'
Western art is dead. Long live the King. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Dylanwolf
Comment No.
926241
November 14 20:11GBR
You seem to be on the money to me, Ed. Modern art often seems to focus back upon the artist's self rather than comment on the social world. We are left asking what did the artist mean by this work rather than asking the question what is this work telling us about the world. I don't think this is necessarily pejorative but I would agree that it suggests a categorisation as right-wing art. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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TheresaKlein
Comment No.
926259
November 14 20:21USA
Jogging - Check. Modern art - Check.
Any other activities you want to surrender to the 'right'?
Oh wait - individualism and concern for liberty - Check. I'll take those too.
You guys can have, um... communal sitting, walking and shouting in unison, group think, and concern for controlling society.
All the health issues now belong to the right, given that they are about the strength and health of the physical body, which as we all know is a facist attitude. Health food? Right wing. Exercise? Right wing. Sports? Right wing.
Same with beauty. Physical beauty is so right wing and facistic no leftist could honorably claim that it is of any importance.
Likewise, anything involving individual self-expression shall henceforth be considered right wing. Music and Literature included.
Also, anything that involves making money is *definitely* right wing. The left can have all the unprofitable activites all to themselves.
So lets see, in order to be left-wing, you have to be poor, ugly, out-of-shape, and dependant on others for emotional support.
Works for me.
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oneyoungturk
Comment No.
926261
November 14 20:22GBR
While Mr Vaizey's assertion is distinctly intriguing, it is clearly delusional and fantastical. It is true, there has been only minor trends in current mainstream contemporary art as a backlash to the Iraq war (Mr Vaizey's comments, by the way, presumably put to bed for good any misleading questions over the Conservative support for the war), but where is the evidence in the art world of flamboyant expressions of such contentious right-wing-"championed" issues of immigration and asylum, custodial sentences, parents smacking children, discipline in schools, European Union membership, so on, so forth.
Indeed, since when has it been a right-wing stance to oppose: ID cards - the apparent Tory policy regarding ID cards is that they are fine so long as the scheme is funded well; detention without trial - it was during Ted Heath's time in office that internment was introduced and peaked in Northern Ireland; increased surveillance and the grinding down of our liberties - we don't recall hearing the Tory Party calling for the Terrorism Act 2000 to be repealed.
Perhaps the biggest fallacy in Mr Vaizey's commentary is the implication that New Labour are by any means of the left, leftist, representative of the left, or any other term that does not disclaim New Labour's relationship with the left-wing. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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otrogadfly
Comment No.
926269
November 14 20:27PER
E, wow!!! that's some seminal thinking you got there...
interestingly stupid. Homer Simpson College of Aesthetics eh? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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MartynInEurope
Comment No.
926298
November 14 20:46TUR
Oh wait - individualism and concern for liberty - Check. I'll take those too.
You really are very stupid! [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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MartynInEurope
Comment No.
926300
November 14 20:47TUR
Oh wait - individualism and concern for liberty - Check. I'll take those too.
You really are very stupid!
Sorry ... it is factual, but please delete. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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ertank
Comment No.
926350
November 14 21:16TUR
Left: Equality, solidarity and liberty.Right: Individualism, freedom -aka individual liberty in the author's lexicon-, entrepreneurism.
Grow up. Only a few of the commentators here have this childish classification. Read: Habermas, Foucault, Nancy, Eagleton, actually, any political theory after IInd World War. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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somethingforjoey
Comment No.
926435
November 14 22:04GBR
"Why did the CIA invest so much in abstract art? because it meant something, or because it could sometimes mean any sort of bollocks? the sort of postmodern, anything can be anything syndrome, that leads to "torture" is "fun", and worse?"
The sort of postmodernism erected as a straw man by people who don't understand postmodernism. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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misharialadwani
Comment No.
926523
November 14 22:53GBR
@TheresaKlein-Good post.You saved me the trouble.Tory MP sets out half-wit friendly theory of modern art.Ed,Ed,Ed...stick to whatever it is that you do.You're out of your depth. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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onezero
Comment No.
926554
November 14 23:14GBR
Posters above have pointed out the importance of the Arts Council in funding artists. Don't forget the importance of the DSS. Be it "Definitely Maybe" or some YBA nonsense, many of the Uk's most successful arts exports are at some point state funded.
I'm not sure if Banksy was "state funded" but here is his take on surveillance.
http://www.banksy.co.uk/indoors/02.html
Oh, and Ed, next time someone asks you if modern art is left wing- just change the subject and keep smiling. Less embarrassing that way.
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worried
Comment No.
926589
November 14 23:42
Modern art...do you mean mean non-art? Of course you do. Which explains why you say associate it with the right wing.Right wing in this context means uncultured and lacking in artistic sensitivity. A bit like cooing over six inch bovver boot heels with flashing lights.Even better if you sniff a line of heroin while discussing them.
Why is crap always boosted by the new money? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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DavidCauchi
Comment No.
926642
November 15 0:26NZL
As an artist, I'd just like to thank all those people who have lumped every artist in the world together and confidently pronounced that we are all fascist egoists, vapid self-obsessed morons, and spoilt brats who have no knowledge of the world and are conning the public by repeating Duchamp's one-liners and dressing it up in theory as a public vanity project simply for the money. Thanks for putting me straight!
Blowhards. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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sweetheart
Comment No.
926724
November 15 2:19GBR
http://www.funnytimes.com/playground/img/119508725120538.png [Offensive? Unsuitable? Report this comment.]
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56000xp
Comment No.
926897
November 15 7:35IRL
"Whichever way you look at it, modern, or contemporary art, is rightwing."
Is that why it's mostly rubbish? Be honest, money aside would you rather own Kandinsky's composition VII or the best thing to come from factory art?
"Contemporary art is highly individualistic. It is about freedom of expression, the chance to make one's mark and to speak with a distinctive voice - all characteristics of the right, rather than the left."
Historically the 'right' has always been conservative about art. From flattering portraits to dull religious pictures through to the Third Reich seizing and burning/banning artwork that didn't fit in well with their obsession in controlling what other people expressed. Rudy Giuliani tried to ban a painting of the Madonna because he considered it offensive to Catholicism. The only people who will try to crack down against art are those who fear freedom of expression. I do not think the 'right' in the UK have anything to fear anymore from freedom of expression or debate since they now own the two largest political parties in the UK (as the Irish 'right' do here).
As for comments suggesting that the commercialisation of art is proof that it belongs to the 'right' i wonder what planet you are living on, throughout history art has always been traded commercially. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
926937
November 15 8:18USA
Dylanwolf
Comment No. 926241
November 14 20:11GBR
"You seem to be on the money to me, Ed. Modern art often seems to focus back upon the artist's self rather than comment on the social world. We are left asking what did the artist mean by this work rather than asking the question what is this work telling us about the world. I don't think this is necessarily pejorative but I would agree that it suggests a categorisation as right-wing art."
you live in a world of v narrow categories [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
926979
November 15 8:59USA
Jay73
Comment No. 925264
November 14 13:42GBR
"Modern art is a dishonest and self-serving illusion which takes money away from a population which it expressly excludes with its output, to feather its own nest and create something that is only appreciated by the privileged few who steal a living enriching themselves on it.
And here we have a Tory who likes that.
Fancy."
Aren't we bitter! [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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56000xp
Comment No.
926997
November 15 9:08IRL
@Parisa
"v narrow categories"
I see your point (and i do admit that i myself was strolling into this territory myself in my above post). I reject this whole notion of pigeon holing art in to political brackets. Left V Right was originally an economic dichotomy. Liberalism V Authoritarianism is another dichotomy which often attracts the terms 'left' or 'right' (i dislike those left/right labels when they are stretched too far) and is concerned with levels of personal freedom independant of government control - 'right' in the first instance has more in common with the 'left' in the second instance - bizarrely. What place has the first in art? You would think artists spent all their time extolling the virtues of communism or free market economics, i do feel however that especially in the modern age artists may be sitting down to paint and first thinking... 'what are the current market trends?' before deciding how they will proceed... regretably. The second dichotomy is more important to the whole of art but only as it governs the freedom of the artist to create even pieces that upset established powers in the country. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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DeadLions
Comment No.
927004
November 15 9:14GBR
Oh dear. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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socialistMike
Comment No.
927047
November 15 9:32GBR
So right-wing media's outrage at modern art is merely a complex intellectual form of irony?
Why else do the lie sheets emit such sturm und drang when the Turner comes around?
They are just having a laugh, you know.
Perhaps the Mail, Express and Sun are really art-forms since they encourage selfishness, hatred of others and greedy individualism.
Have they applied for Arts Council grants? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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upnorth
Comment No.
927050
November 15 9:33GBR
Exactly how can a pile of dirty bedsheets, half a sheep in formaldyhyde or a sculpture made of piss have any particular political significance?
Am I missing something? [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Brusselsexpats
Comment No.
927093
November 15 9:52BEL
This is a hoot. When I first saw this article, I thought it would attract about a dozen posts, but it's running on and on. (Parisa I hope you got some sleep).
Artists such as Klimt depicted the zeitgeist of their times. Decadent, Freud-riddled Vienna, anyone? Just as Picasso's Guernica marked him down as something of a successor to Goya.
Not sure myself what a pickled shark has to say about today's society but no doubt some bright spark here will think of something. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
927557
November 15 12:22USA
Brusselsexpats
Comment No. 927093
November 15 9:52BEL
"This is a hoot. When I first saw this article, I thought it would attract about a dozen posts, but it's running on and on. (Parisa I hope you got some sleep).
Not sure myself what a pickled shark has to say about today's society but no doubt some bright spark here will think of something."
Only just & am back for more punishment - ta. This bright spark thinks Damien Hirst is one brill businessman & so is Saatchi. Well, perhaps not totally fair - I'm sure that Saatchi has done a lot for some - if not a lot of artists & I've heard it said that he's a genuine lover of art, too. Just not always usually my kind of art. BTW....went to Hirst's resto one nite for a drink - as godawful as his art. Think it closed down - surprize surprize. I've also heard said that the diamond skull is "magnificent". Hmmmnnn.........nope - not my tea of cup altho' I s'pose if I was feeling generous I might say he has a novel way of looking at death. But "is it..erm.... ART!?" [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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haveone
Comment No.
929781
November 16 11:55CAN
This is possibly the most ignorant and vacuous piece on Cif in the last while (which is quite an accomplishment really)...then again, modern art has always relied upon a bit of cosmic irony, so being celebrated by an idiot for all the things that modern art is most concerned to dismantle (tactless, bland, plastic consumerism) is perhaps apropos [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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MartynInEurope
Comment No.
929808
November 16 12:07TUR
I may not like it, but I do understand "a load of old crap" when I see it. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Lowdowner
Comment No.
930040
November 16 13:26DEU
Parisa, so you 'bought in' did you? Quell suprise! Actually, the Hirst colection is magnificent BECAUSE it is corporate.
You understand art even less than you understand the sense of community. For you, and others like you, selfishness is something to aim for, part of the dream.
You paid money. No-one cares that whatever you bought was good or bad, tasty or foul. No-one cares at all. This is selfishness in action, Parisa. Do you like it?
Why blog though?
hmm
Maybe there is hope! [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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RobertStanfield
Comment No.
930334
November 16 15:06GBR
I think in Ed's defence, his argument may have flaws, but this was a good attempt to engage on an interesting subject, and it has produced some very readable responses. Thanks. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Malchemy
Comment No.
930345
November 16 15:11GBR
Since Duchamp some (with many unsung exceptions) art can be seen as Damp Pants or even Granny's Damp Pants, in other words way too much "knowing" conceptualisation allied to an obvious paucity of skilled application. That skull for example is just an expensive "bought in" colouring in job using exotic materials, the real visual form is stolen from the natural artifact underneath. Art must be far more than a signature at the end of a process to have enduring value. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
930363
November 16 15:17USA
Lowdowner
November 16, 2007 1:26 PM
"Parisa, so you 'bought in' did you?"
Where the hell do I say that? And how is selfishness part of my - & others like me - aim & dream? People on this thread talk about the "self-promotion of artists" etc I call it communication. What in heaven's name are you talking about?! What is this about money & no one caring. People care but people make choices - what's wrong with that? No one is forcing anyone to buy anything. I don't force anyone to buy my work - & neither is it selfish of me to paint & create. Yes I do like that an artist can paint or whatever & that his achievements can be appreciated - or not - as the case may be. Why ever not? It's called democracy. Yes - I do happen to appreciate freedom & freedom of expression in art as in blogging, too. Don't you read books? What's the difference? There's lots of art I don't like but again - that's my choice. I don't have to buy it & I don't. Others maybe will like it & that's theirs. And as for blogs..... well, don't blog then! [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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digit
Comment No.
930627
November 16 16:50GBR
@misharialadwaniI'd have said the same, except Theresaklein wasn't joking.
To ask what side the artists (as a group!) are on is to engage in 'with-us-or-against-usism' lite; in other words, it's stupid, Ed - as stupid as most art that tries to propagandise for given causes. But I guess that doesn't really bother you if you can press contemporary art into convincing a few naive people that conservatism is all about freedom - without, of course, actually making that case substantively: art - all about freedom; conservatism - ditto. Conflation alert!
All that said, if you're either leftish or intellectual(ish) or both, the contemporary art world can quickly make you sick. It appears to be impossible for most of my artist friends to make a living without courting the favour of monied zombies whose personalities have disappeared in layers of fur, cosmetics and collagen. A curator admitted to me recently that the standard art world press release, a soul-sapping melange of poor grammar, cliche, flimsy reasoning and half-baked theory, is really just the expected sales pitch.
The only notable critique the art world itself has produced of any of this recently was the great nineties art group Bank.
http://www.btinternet.com/~brain.love/bank.html If you can find it anywhere, their corrected press release project was especially satisfying and funny. Paraphrasing from memory:'X's work is black yet white, sad yet funny, all things to all people. Why do you always do this? Try to be more original!'
Matt Collings was a Bank champion and this piece mentions them and provides a good capsule description of the weirdness of the art world by focusing on Maureen Paley at the start:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,3975655,00.html [Offensive? Unsuitable? Report this comment.]
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Parisa
Comment No.
930775
November 16 17:48USA
Lowdowner
Comment No. 930040
November 16 13:26DEU
Yeah - yeah - everything should be a collective - we should all be like ants & ALL art by artists is egotistical lol. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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Parisa
Comment No.
930925
November 16 19:01USA
Thing is....that mostly all artists have to sell their work so as they can eat & have a roof over their head. Most artists cannot get by without teaching or having another job as well in order to do this. Some artists find they can make a living doing work that employs their skills or are commercially saleable - it's really as simple as that. You could say they've sold it but by that standard so did Michaelangelo - he got commissions, too. I'm sure that those artists who do "sell out" often don't want to but bills have to be paid. [Offensive? Unsuitable?
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