Thursday, 5 May 2011

Modern Art.



A while ago I was out in the centre of Leeds with my wife. We had finished shopping and were booked into a restaurant but we had a couple of hours to kill.
So we decided to spend these in the City Art Gallery.

It was free of charge and open to all so we thought an injection of culture would do us some good.

As we entered the gallery we walked past the reception desk and into a white room. I knew that there had been some building work done on the gallery recently and at first I thought that the room must have been unfinished as the builders had left some stuff behind.

Then I noticed that these items had little cards on the wall next to them with the names of pieces and the artist written on. This was in fact the exhibition.

Amongst the masterpieces on display was a load of scrunched up sellotape hanging from the ceiling called 'Cloud', a broom handle wrapped in tinfoil and leant against the wall, some twigs in a tripod shape with water filled balloons hanging off them and a bolt sticking out of the wall wrapped in coloured ribons.

Oh, and a Lidl catalogue with the middle cut out leaving only the binding and a one centimetre border.

In every room of the gallery there stood a member of staff with a walkie talkie making sure that we obeyed the signs that warned us against touching the exhibits. I didn't see how touching any of these would make the slightest bit of difference.

Now I'm not going to start saying that I think all modern art is rubbish. Art is being created all of the time and much of it is beautiful, but when I see something that looks like it took ten minutes to knock together then I don't see the point.

There seems to be an argument that says art is in the eye of the beholder and reading meaning into something that may not be apparent to others justifies the title of art.

By this rationale I could go to my local builders yard, pick up a breeze block and state that it represents 'The Despair of the Penal System'. Hey presto, instant art.

Art should be something that takes effort to create and provokes an emotional response in those who experience it and not just feelings of puzzlement and annoyance.

Calling something art might make it art but not necessarily good art.

But then I never went to university so what do I know.

42 comments:

Gelai said...

I agree with everything you said! :)

Her highness, Samantha VĂ©rant said...

I like the photo you posted. Is that a polar bear? In the snow? I was an art major and I've never been a fan of "found art." It's like, 'hey, look at this old band-aid with blood on it! I'm going to frame it and call it pain.'

mark fellows said...

Art should take time to create, and maybe people with artistic talent are the only ones that should create are that hangs on walls, or in museums. Maybe people with talent are in short demand these days?

Tony Van Helsing said...

Gelai: Thanks for that.

Her Highness: No, it's a white rabbit swimming in milk with it's eyes shut.

Mark: My point exactly.

Kelly said...

I agree. Plus there are artists that spend hours upon hours creating something that should be there instead!

ed said...

my poop is art

Tom said...

I totally agree with you. I try not to make fun of modern art anymore. If you do question it, you are labled as an illiterate, uncultured, hick. It's kind of like laughing at a joke you don't get so your friends think you get it.

Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

I was an art history major and so enjoyed all the old stuff. We got to modern art and my eyes started to roll. I'm like you, I won't deny its right to be called art. But I certainly don't think very highly of it.

I as a business owner I wouldn't accept a budget proposal from someone who wrote it up in 5 minutes. Just like I don't accept art that took 30 seconds. Lazy.

;)

Antares Cryptos said...

The favorite argument of collectors is that anyone who doesn't appreciate the art of white doesn't "understand" it.

Wrong. A found object does not make it art or an installation unless it is art. Very lucrative for gallery owners though.

Stare Dad said...

A Lidl catalog? Really?

Nuker Zero said...

I agree with you; art is a good that should require effort to create. And not just effort in the mind but on the canvas.

bobo said...

Yeah. I don't get modern art, but if I can stick a post it on the wall, cordon it off and call it a work of art just confuses me too.

bruce said...

the opening picture of that *ART* really spoke to me...

it said nothing...like the space that the *artist* calls between its ears...

you are so right.

so much of the world are posers

Tony Van Helsing said...

Kelly: It's not what you know, it's who you know.

Ed: My art is poop.

Tom: Brilliantly put, it's like The Emperors New Clothes.

Hannah: It seems that artists deliberately try to shock and annoy with the poorness of their work.

Anatres: I agree, it's like peer group pressure.

Stare: As God is my witness.

Nuker: Too right, put the hours in. It's your job.

Bobo: Tracey Emin's unmade bed takes some beating.

Bruce: The waffle that so-called experts come out with to justify it is an art form in itself.

Colin Biano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OatmealStout said...

They call it modern art, I call it troll material.

Oilfield Trash said...

I totally agree with you on this.

Moobeat said...

lol @ ed

Doug Stephens said...

[ ] <-------art

Bushman said...

It's like the Emperors New Clothes
In order to be "cool" you'll like it because it must be the thing to do!
You'll end up walking down the street naked nonetheless.
The only thing I know about Art is he's the guy who puts the bumpers on our firetrucks at work!

Maggie said...

very interesting. i love art especially the meaning behind it

Violet said...

that shit makes me want to toss turd at the a-holes who actually think that crap is art... especially the shitty peeps who try to intellectualize about the true meaning, like there is one.
oooohhh another white canvas.
really?!?!?
i'm an artist.
and i cannot make a decent name for myself ... not yet.
i just love to make art. art that requires creativity, technique and thought, pain or joy... whatever.
and some jerkoff makes mad scratch- off tampon art.
suck one gallery fucks.
but the brainless sheeple who "invest" in "art" like that make me the maddest.
do they know the joke's on them?
ha

Tony Van Helsing said...

Colin: Well said.

Oatmeal: Like the Troll dolls, perhaps.

OT: Cheers my man.

Moobeat: lmao

Doug: You just created a masterpiece.

Bush: Give my best to Art.

Maggie: I don't like it when it needs the meaning to define it as art.

Violet: What an incredible outburst. I love it and am looking for your blog.

Elaine AM Smith said...

The stone piles could be Andy Goldsworthy's art. His sticks, stones and leaves creations are natural marvels. I'm happy to spend hours defending Rothko.

Tony Van Helsing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony Van Helsing said...

Elaine: Have a read of my earlier post Mystery of the Profile Picture. Could this be Goldsworthy?

Al Penwasser said...

I knew a guy named "Art" once. He was pretty cool. I don't much care for modern art; it reminds me of the "Monkey Flings Poo" genre. I actually like classical art, either statues from the ancient world (because a lot of the women didn't have clothes on) or art from the Middle Ages (because, since a lot of them involve Satan humping chickens or-better!-more naked women, they hold my interest).
Now, Art Garfunkel...that dude could sing!

Ixy said...

Bushman said it first but The Emperor's New Clothes is exactly what came to mind when I saw that picture. How ridiculous. The funniest part is the security so you won't "wreck" the art! Couldn't you throw paint on it and call it a new art piece "Reaction to Stupidity"?

Thanks for visiting my blog.

altadenahiker said...

On the other hand, I find a lot of humor in a Marcel Duchamp. And if you're talking about insults to art, what about someone like a Thomas Kinkade? (Or maybe you're not subjected to him over your way.)

Tony Van Helsing said...

Al: Monkey poo flinging and Satan humping chickens in one paragraph. You've surpassed yourself.

Ixy: You are right, it is peer group pressure. I'd better agree with these people who are cleverer then I am or they will think I am stupid. We all do it.

Alta: I'm out of my depth here.

Katsidhe said...

My best friend went to art school and whenever I would go to one of his Open Houses I would usually be boggled by at least one piece of so-called art. Luckily I have a reputation of being a ditz so no one minded when I was the only one to admit, I mean CONFESS, that I didn't "get" it.

Glovey said...

Love your blogging work! Keep up the good work you make really good posts!

Jessica Thompson said...

Lmao art is hard to decipher...

Tony Van Helsing said...

Kats: Does art mean that we should stand in front of pieces feeling stupid?

Glovey: I love you.

Jessica: They make art hard to decipher because it is is shit art.

Susan Fields said...

I haven't been to an art museum in much, much too long. Now that my kids are older, maybe I'll be able to get out and see some of this "modern art" everyone's talking about. :)

J.B. said...

that was rubbish for sure, no wonder the entry was free

Violet said...

art- hahahahaaa- thomas kinkade... hahahahaha. i agree with alta! i used to work as a picture framer, and his "art" was @ half of our business. this post is so great, and i am almost as excited about the responses, i just had to return to read more.
in defense of ART, there is so much amazing new work being created, but it may not be well shown.
some artist friends i know are all about marketing themselves and being- or trying to be- the next IT person... i kinda have to take a step back from them and the IT bullshit.
i refuse to go to big gala openings anymore, even if i am in the show. i can buy cheap wine and drink it at home, and if i want to hear convoluted conversing, i can watch mtv.
i hate the art world. with almost as much passion as i love art.
not every artiste' is an artist.
again, great post tony!

and p.s.- if "real" or "modern" art is soo fucking important to be exposed to why is graffiti illegal, and charging 27 fucking bucks to get into the boston fine arts museum, or the guggenheim LEGAL? suck one art community- jealous elitist cunts!
no- i'm not mad, i'm just broke...

Tricia said...

I totally agree! Minneapolis has a fair number of museums and for everything they display that I'd consider 'art', there are five things that just make me shake my head in wonder.

Flinging dog poop on a canvas?
Splattering a red dot in the middle of a wall?
These things are not art...

Anonymous said...

i wish so much that i could get paid for pooping in the toilet and smearing it on the wall and calling it sanchez. but then i realized somthing my 5 year old daughter creates art all the time with imagination crayonz pens and food all over the furniture ... im going to invest in her new found talent :D thanks guys
--- the worlds next millionare

Marie said...

I agree with everything also:)))

Anonymous said...

This blog post perfectly explains why I fell out with art after school. After have done GCSE in art in 6th form many years ago. I came to release its just all to poncy and bollocks. I was just a copy artist, copy other drawings freehand. Some looked decent but new I'd never get anywhere with it. Appears to get anywhere you need to make some bullshit modern art and just know the right people who find it "Fashionable" then you can con them for millions. Like a certain famous artist has been doing for years cutting animals in half.

Anonymous said...

while many of your opinions means so much to you...and while you might have fellow critics that compliment your views...it seems it never occurs to you while you hurl your anger. says more about you than it does about the people or the objects. sometimes its not the object that is the point, its your reactions. sometimes its too deep for long drawn out explanations. if its not for you that is fine too, but try for a moment too look beyond your narrow view. some art can still your rash thinking and leave you silent. and while you can exercise your views, why is not ok for another to present her views. at least try to be less hostile and more creative in your life. maybe this world will be a better place to share without fear of angry ridicule.