Saturday, 26 May 2018

Contemporary Art

Following on from our visit to the Tate St Ives last week, here are some photos of a few of the art works on display. The vast majority of it left me stone cold. The odd Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore sculpture I could appreciate, along with the Piet Mondrian, but once you've seen one Mondrian you've seen them all and one boulder is pretty much the same as any other.

My beef with contemporary art is primarily with Abstract and some Expressioinism and is that it's impossible to differentiate between a good artist and a bad artist - which to me says it isn't art at all. At least not in my definition - and I don't necessarily have a definition; I just know, as the saying goes, what I like. Art, like music, is very subjective. What leaves me cold may send someone else into paroxysms on delight. Mostly though, I thinks it's pseudo-intellectualism. When a monkey with a paintbrush can fool so-called connoisseurs, then it ain't art - it's decoration at best and tripe at worst.

Take this one, for example. Patrick Heron - utter tripe. Recognised as one of the leading painters of his generation and influenced by Cezanne, Matisse, Braque and Bonnard - influenced by copious quantities of Watney's Red Barrel, more like. I'm convinced that St Ives in the early 20th century was the epicentre of the UK drugs trade.

Does me not appreciating a Patrick Heron make me a Philistine? I don't believe so - I think it makes me immune to marketing, hype and fakery. If this is good art, then everyone is an artist, which debases skill.

Here's another 'masterpiece' from Heron:

I wouldn't even have it on my floor as a rug, for God's sake; it certainly doesn't move me. It took me ages to get this photo, as some bloke was stood in front of it admiring it for at least 5 minutes. Perhaps he was just waiting to 'get it'.

Even the great Mark Rothko (above) isn't immune from my excoriating critique. I've heard people say they feel an almost religious experience when viewing a Rothko close up. Why? I'd need to be high on LSD to feel anything for this. Are such people religiously moved by carpets too, or are they merely echoing the art establishment mantras? I suspect the latter.

Another Heron above. Still don't 'get it'. Not a semblance of draughtsmanship or form - just a couple of daubs on a green background. Doubtless he agonised over the exact shade of green, but no more so than I did over the shade of magnolia on my walls.

I do get the artist who has demonstrated that they can at least draw then going on to experiment with different styles and techniques, or the artist whose work is important from an art hisotry perspective, but when all they've done since day one is scrawls and splashes, it debases the artist who has the ability to actually draw and spent some time learning to do so.

Some who churn this stuff out are, I'm sure, just on the bandwagon for the money and can see a chance of a quick buck by hoodwinking people. Much of contemporary art is like Prog Rock - so consumed with its own pseudo-intellectualism that it has gone too far up its own arse and had been subverted by speculators in the galleries; the Emperor's New Clothes, so to speak.

I do like this installation from the Tate St Ives though, which was tucked away in a corner. The juxtaposition of the stools and the chair show an uncanny affinity for form and space. Sadly, it was unattributed and there was no accompanying explanation in bollocky art-speak.

Never expected to find this contemporary homage to Marc Duchamp though:

It was signed Armitage Shanks who, I have to admit, I've never heard of.

I resonated more with some of the stuff on display in the high street galleries (below):

This ceramic piece is almost hypnotic when you view it and makes you giddy. Interesting, certainly, decorative too, but art - I don't know. The lines are blurred here, as the artist has a skill in ceramics.

This chap can be viewed from any angle and look good. Not sure I'd pay 4 grand for it though - I wonder how much the artist gets from that price - less than half, I'd wager. It's one of only 4 the sculptor made.

As I said before, art is in the eye of the beholder and this beholder just has an abhorrence of Abstract art, just as I have an abhorrence of most Punk and all Country music.

1 comment:

  1. Dear sir,
    A general view of you daily postings: I rarely comment but I enjoy them very much. I have my own ideas and sometimes these are at variance with yours but I always find your viewpoint interesting and sometimes it modulates my own thoughts. I find that your politial views are well supported by facts. Please accept my apologies for not contributing more.

    Today's posting: can you still buy Red Barrel? I disagree about the set piece with the chairs: i think that the red pouf dominates the foreground of the piece and destroys the scale and balance of the vista.

    Keep up the good work.