Andre Wallace

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dead parrots - public art is not art.


All over Taunton - Paint a dragon - Why?

Below are all illustrations of the degenerate and sad state of our public art, needless to assert they all lack a commitment to aesthetics, taste or even sense. Inclusion is all, as is the dumb assertion that anything purporting to be art is good, but is any of this old garbage good for you?

The first one is this commemoration of WW1 - an effete waste of time on all counts:
"Emmanuel is therefore following in the footsteps of Ernst and Picasso, who witnessed the war's sad impact on France, in mourning the vulnerable bodies of a lost generation." Complete guff from Jonathan Jones, the artist is not following in anyone's footsteps, he is posting some poor and tasteless photos printed on cloth in Flanders fields. More and more have become convinced that the man who said that the Guardian is a comic is right. Compare Emmanuel's effete efforts with this work of an adult!

WW1 entertainment art mockery continues with the coloured painting of the Edmund Gardiner in Liverpool's Albert dock. Another is the extremely boring and pointless Folkestone WW1 memorial arch, it has no link with WW1 whatsoever, it's just municipal hubris.

Then there is a very big rubber duck which claims to be art and also a giant turtle. This is all just circus entertainment.

There is this real post post modernist gem from Jeff Koons outside the Rockerfeller centre which suggests that art criticism is getting to him. He has split two heads ( a toy dinosaur and a toy pony) in half in an arty gesture of no formal or meaningful art significance.

Then there is a dead parrot in Greenwich, homage to Monty Python?

The line of sculptures from the Olympic stadium to the O2 arena, where ACE will only consider the usual suspects and sponsored by the Mayor of London. Gary Hume, the Martin Creed, His Hirstness and Thomson and Craighead so far been accepted. Same old, same old story of state art inclusion and exclusion of talent.

Sydney Australia is to get a candidate for the worst piece of public art ever created by a Japanese architect a major piece of hubris.

Lighthearted divertion of Chinese man getting stuck in rude and crude sculpture by Fernando la jara.

Desperate (literally) Dan sculpture in Dundee, more wasted public money. What kind of sensibility is required to preserve a kids comic book character in Bronze - truly we live in desperate times.

Lastly for now, (there could be a book in this) is the most appalling piece of really really useless crap sculpture I have ever seen, in Cambridge and known as the Don! Even the artist disowned it!

"It's high time for the art world to admit that the avant-garde is dead. It was killed by my hero, Andy Warhol, who incorporated into his art all the gaudy commercial imagery of capitalism (like Campbell's soup cans) that most artists had stubbornly scorned."
Camille Paglia

Thus all over Exeter we have had the gorillas and in Bristol it was Gromit, one has to ask why?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nothing new under the sun ?

This weeks press brings news (horror of horrors), that the Chapman brothers have been censored by a children's rights group in Rome. Oh well, what can one say apart from, when one considers the decadent content of their work it's very, surprising that it hasn't happened frequently before. Their apologetics can be found here in a piece of pure art bollocks;

"Chapman: We're not psychiatrists and we decline the invitation to treat the spectator as analysand. In this sense we reject the provision of an aesthetic "abreactive therapy" or "cathartic method" implied by overtly didactic ambitions like "obfuscate," "purloin," "confuse." We regard these aims as reactive, indicative of a masochistically geared self satisfied critique." They are not responsible then, this makes for wonderful reading doesn't it? Obviously written by an expert.

and this pure unadulterated drivel which effectively undermines their case;

"The neurologist Paul Mobius suggested that the "self is only an organ." Using the topographical figure of the mobius strip he described the cutaneous and subcutaneous membranes circulating the body as a single continuous plane. While this spatiality dissolves the interiority and the exteriority it also democratizes the anatomy thereby disinvesting the brain of its sovereignty. What can be said about being after that?"

If indeed the self is nothing but a mere organ and nothing more can be said about being, where does that put their poor self-deluded pretence to be producing works of art, surely no simple organ needs or requires such errant sophistry as artwork?  As usual in this delusional world they have to have their jam on both sides of their bread.

Google also came up with this art teachers dilemma with the Chapman's artwork. In the present climate no sane art teacher could take a class into a Chapman brothers exhibition without putting their job on the line. Which supports this discussion about children in galleries that Jake has provoked in the press. It is hard to sympathise with the views of someone whose stance is so anti-educational but one could argue that exposure to much contemporary art (including the brothers) is not exactly life enhancing or educationally enlightening. The commonplace and stupid assumption (that which has got so many unwanted arts venues off the ground) i.e. that all art is good for you definitely doesn't hold any water when you consider the Chapmans' work. Much like Tracey Emin exhibited to the old folk in EastbourneSomething must be bothering the Brothers as members of the arts emergency group!

Nothing new here then?

You probably don't remember the column of steam that was proposed for the millennium and wasted huge amounts of ACE funds. To mark the anniversary of WW1 there is this successful project in central London at present which you will probably have already seen and which has Richard Dorment entralled.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Henry Moore - A sad reverie

Was walking in a garden at Dartington recently when I encountered the above Henry Moore sculpture  - now fashionably repeatedly termed by the coarse media as "the turd in the Plaza". This started me thinking on why visual standards have slipped throughout our debased visual culture. Have become more convinced that Modernism died with Picasso for very formal reasons to do with the empirical connection between the artist's work and nature, without which so much of today's putative artwork is pure marketing kitsch.

Moore kept that link alive and well in all his work which in this case is a very beautiful formal sculpture, that works well from every angle. How often can one say that about today's sculptural attempts which usually only work from one angle?

So Karla Black is exhibiting at the Edinburgh art Festival 2014. How did we get so coarsened that we can believe this pink washing line is a piece of sculpture? I knew of a sculptor who produced this kind of art in the 1960's with satin and muslin and no-one has heard of her since. Yet her sculpture, using similar materials to Black's and restrained by welded steel structures was pure drawing, elegant, linear, and very, very beautiful. It also communicated formal abstract and artistic values connected with natural form. Black appears to have no understanding of or concern with sculptural form whatsoever. Just going through the motions. Other artists showing in Edinburgh are Martin Boyce, Douglas Gordon Graham Fagen Susan Hiller and Isa Gentzken

Jake Chapman appears for an interview the Independent. Jayna Rana writes: "he (Jake) puts me straight with a diatribe – his forte – about the need to "defend art from popularity and popularity from art". What a load of double think this is, as if the brothers have never done anything else but court maximum popularity from the crudest elements of the culture?
Also this:"He is clear. Art is something artists do. "It's that simple. It's about intentionality," he says", - sliding along with glib unquestioning assumptions and superficialitySo what exactly is the Chapman's bros intention? To reduce art to the level of the concentration camp?

The answer to my question, "why have visual standards slipped so far in our debased visual culture." We became so desensitised and coarsened because we were bombarded with make believe from the full force of the state and the media about the nature and scope of what art is and what art is not in order to further the interests of both the market and it's key manipulators with advertising interests. In the process they have completely annihilated what was left of our visual culture.

 David Lee wrote this way back in 2009;
"Rarely a week now passes without an example of the State Academy consolidating its influence. Permutations of the same few judges select/curate/promote/advance permutations of the same few artists. The story of the byzantine workings and wheeler-dealings of how so few people managed to institutionalise avant garde art, so much of which exhibits so little discernible merit, to the financial advantage of so few, will doubtless be written in the future by those with the time to probe deeply. For the time being, the art of Damien and his pals is as secure an investment as gilts, for both are state-sponsored."
How much worse it is today? Moore's work is art, little of what is produced now can begin to lay claim to that title. Without aesthetics there is no art.