Andre Wallace

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What future for Art Schools?

" Change is in the air, prompting questions about what art schools are for, what they will look like in the future – and what they were like in the past. Looking beyond the campaigns and heated commentary surrounding the relocations of the Cass and Central Saint Martins – not to mention the earlier move of UAL's Chelsea School of Art in 2005, and the restoration of the Glasgow School of Art after a fire in 2014 – to a recent plethora of talks and books on the history of art schools, nostalgia for what has gone is the keynote." 
Truth be told - like all revisionist commentary, only those who were there are entitled to comment on the fact that the art school product of today or what successful students become. They are little more than a dilettantes. Big on theory and discourse and very poor on actual performance. She concludes with this criticism of one of the free alternatives to the university contemporary art dept: " John Lawrence was an associate at Open School East in 2015 and found the experience liberating. “It was great to work in a truly collaborative fashion, and to have real agency in providing cultural activity at the highest level to local audiences and the London community,” he says. “A DIY ethos requires a lot of energy from all involved, but it also allows for the possibility to engage and react to things on the fly.”
"While initiatives like this are exciting, it is unlikely that they can or will usurp mainstream art schools – nor is this something we should hope for. As Lawrence admits: “Ideally, alternative art school models wouldn’t need to exist. Really, they are papering over the cracks that some mainstream education models overlook and providing free education at a time when £9,000 in tuition fees simply isn’t a viable option for many.” 
The truth is that the mainstream art schools are in long overdue need of a complete rethink, dispensing with all the misbegotten fly blown marxist crap that has marred their correct function since the 1980's. Someone needs to to take on the challenge, and to force the universities to consider the intellectual and visual content of their art and design courses.
This is supposedly the truth about the status of our art schools - enjoy!

Some recent research has pointed up the fact that most artists throughout the history of western portrait painting have spent an enormous amount of time drawing and painting folds in drapery. Waldemar in his recent programs on the Renaissance discussed venetian drapery and a recent exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite drawings includes several studies of draped cloth. An unexplored area for someones PHd.

This cropped up this week - although what it has to do with contemporary art is anyone's guess?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Visual arts dying in London?

Sir Nicholas Serota is complaining about the high cost of property in London. This, he moans is forcing artists to live elsewhere in the UK and the cultural capital of visual artists is dying. The Guardian agree with him as they argue many creatives are being driven out by the cost of property. Over to Labour MP Sadiq Khan:
"Mr Khan, a former transport minister, also said he would protect artists, musicians and creative industry workers by establishing Creative Enterprise Zones, where planning protection for small industrial workspaces, affordable space and possibly reduced rates and grants would be offered.
He also discussed plans to draw up the capital’s first cultural infrastructure plan involving key arts figures and organisations from the Tate to Adele and Idris Elba to identify what it needs to remain globally competitive and keep London’s “cultural crown” over the next 15 years and beyond."

Ah well, and how many times have we heard this kind of "let new blossoms bloom " cant over the past fifty years yet nothing changes. The real problem that no-one will actually address is the appalling state of Art and design higher education which is long over due for a root and branch reform. The present incumbents care not a fig, and are presiding over the greatest decline in visual arts education in the UK since WW2. They are busy removing it from secondary schools where it can be relegated to after hours - alongside sport as prescribed in the budget yesterday. Free schools and academies no longer have to teach art and the national curriculum is now completely defunct. Secondary schools have a deepening staffing crisis. The YBA's are ageing badly and the internet has replaced the gallery system. Which puts Sir Nicholas's complaints in a sad light. As the Kipling put it ; 
"Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:"
There will be no building up with worn out tools anytime soon!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Mark Wallinger

It is significant that there is little or no art being promoted today that deals with the great issues of the day - one may ask why this is so? Why is there so little serious agitprop being produced by contemporary artists? This is a serious question,  - is it that artists are no longer interested in dealing with serious political issues because they see their role as entertaining or amusing patrons and not as in the recent past challenging the status quo? It's not as though there are serious issues from the current US election, to the problems in Syria, and the migrant crisis.

Meanwhile Mark Wallinger is in the news with a show at Hauser and Wirth London called ID. The usual critics line up to hype it up with praise.  Needless to say it contains some thin ideas, including filming his shadow. The best thing has has done recently has used a 3D printer to reproduce a horse.

However this is as nothing as compared with the issues thrown up by the V and A exhibition based upon the Botticelli Venus. It had to happen sooner or later, but this is a truly shocking exhibition for a major public gallery to mount. The fact is that here two unwitting curators have given cultural vandalism a spurious and undeserved validity. Boyd Tonkin in the Independent writes ; "The museum has assembled perhaps the grossest heap of kitsch and dross ever to litter its eclectic exhibition halls."

The fact is that the net is rife with art abuse courtesy of net site worth 1000 which showed the kinds of trash produced by kids and the feeble minded who believe any old master painting was game for Photoshop modification. The result is always meaningless rubbish that has the ultimate effect of degrading the true value of the original artwork. Interestingly the plug has been pulled on the website Worth1000 which no longer exists and this is a very good thing. Try typing Mona Lisa modified into Google image search and observe the thousands of dross images. This photoshop abuse has moved on to other great paintings and here in the V and A there are soft porn versions of Venus given spurious and stupid validity as if in some way equal to the original Botticelli.
The original becomes contaminated, because the truth is self evident - Not all images are created equal!