Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Art School Wankers

I read an article the other day by Grayson Perry about a young woman who, having received the appropriate sponsorship, intends to stage an art installation featuring nothing. I despair!

Some years ago, I had the misfortune to be the tenant of a guy who was finishing off his degree at St Martin's. He was an archetypal art school wanker. Seemed to think the world owed him a living, and that he was entitled to be supported whilst engaging in the creation of work that would mean nothing to anyone except himself. As a result, what he produced was self-indulgent rubbish that anyone could have done.

Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of modern art that I really like. For example, I thought that Marcus Harvey's Myra was a very powerful piece. And guess what? It took genuine skill and creativity to get it made. Who would have thought?

Good art seems to thrive in adversity. I used to be very fond of Marc Almond's music. Well, I would, wouldn't I, being a big ole jobby-jabber and all. I thought that his best album was Tenement Symphony, yet when I read his autobiography, it was very clear that it was his least favourite because of all the interference from the record label. Having heard subsequent albums in which his muse was completely unfettered, I reckon the label did a very good job of channelling the creativity and limiting the excess in a way that created a much better piece of work.

The greatest artists in history had patrons and sponsors, and lived on commissions. They knew better than to bite the hand that fed them, and they fulfilled the terms of their commissions but managed to sneak some of their own concepts and ideas into the work along the way. The result is much more memorable than the self-satisfied, hollow, arturbatory nonsense that is often on display.

I love the slides in Tate Modern. But let's not kid ourselves. They're slides, not art.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ahhh the age old debate about what art is. I do wish these art school wankers would realise Dada died out for a frikkin' reason. Meh.

Al said...

Artist and Actors, both the same dole bludging wasters if you ask me.

My previous employer had bought some photographs of smashed water melons in Central Park. The artists blurb next to the photographs was all about the fragility of man and disabilities and other such piffle. After that I came to the conclusion that being an artist is more about writing the little blurb and less about what you've physically created.

My favourite modern artist is Martin Creed, who I can't help but think is just taking the piss out of the art world with pieces like "Some Blu-Tack Kneaded, Rolled Into A Ball, And Depressed Against A Wall"

Tickersoid said...

I agree. It often amazes me how there is general consensus about what is and isn't good amongst the lay man, in the abstract art world.
My daughter paints and until recently I've done the dad "yes dear very nice thing" until recently when she seems to have found some hidden tallent. Her best work had me saying "wow" out loud. Interestingly, she was able, reluctantly, to barter it to pay a mechanic for an engine swap in her car.
On the other hand, I've visited the Tate Modern twice this year with two different people and there is stuff there, that we all agreed, had no merit.
it seems that to some extent, one instinctively knows what's good, and you don't have to be acedemic to know.

Da Nator said...

I'm not big on most modern art, either. Seems to me that, much like most modern architecture, it's all academic, rather than meaningful or useful.

Have you read The Painted Word?

Anonymous said...

Ah the slides. Haven't been on them, but they do look like fun, rather than the thought-provoking pieces of art their creator would have them be.

He's a self-obsessed whatsit too apparently, trying to tell reporters where they could and couldn't interview him and what he would and wouldn't say. Our guy from ITV London just did it without him in the end - no one wants to hear "the creator" spouting off a bunch of bollocks. All they really want is to see a journalist fall on his ass at the bottom of the long one.

And Qenny - "jobby-jabber"?! Love it!

Reluctant Nomad said...

The best thing about Tate Modern is the building - what a beautiful structure and use of space!

99.9% (ok, maybe 90.9%) of what it contains is utter shite.

Now when are they going to build a shrine to Tretchikoff? :-)