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Monday, 9 October 2017

Tate Modern new installations Oct 2017

Those who care about the survival of our art institutions in a time of great financial restraint should also be concerned about the garbage currently showing in the Turbine hall at Tate Modern.  Many, many small galleries have recently lost their funding due to Arts Council decisions, the local ones being Spacex Exeter, and the Arnolfini in Bristol. This was perhaps inevitable, but the current fascism termed non elitism and inclusivity is accelerating the dumbing down decline of the visual arts to total irrelevance. An instagram installation, the current exhibition is a playground for immature millennials, no more no less because it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with visual art.
Truth to tell there is probably nothing being made out there that can occupy this misconceived huge exhibition space. Playing on a swing is not visual art, visual art involves one in quiet seeing and intellectual and aesthetic contemplation and not infantilism or childish games which belong in a public park. One could go as far as to say if this is what's needed to bring in the populist crowds then perhaps our leading museum of contemporary visual art should hand the job over to more adult and capable hands, who are not interested in making visual art social media participatory fun for selfies and absolutely nothing else.
Bring back connoisseurship and elitism, damn the faux inclusivity and participation, this isn't what the arts Council should be subsidising. Very little of what has been shown in the Turbine Hall has been any good.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Art Ruby

Art Ruby can prove to be a source of endless fascination, simply for the weird stuff that it turns up in the way in which banal things and ideas can be given new form.

One such is the clowns in a show at the contemporary art centre in Cincinnati by Ugo Rondinone which are, when it's become a cultural cliche to dress as a clown to terrify people, mistaken thinking. What can you possibly say about clowns that is new or even vaguely artistic?

Then there is this pop art in stone from one Robin Antar. Andy Warhol would have been proud of these colourful artefacts, inedible though they are, you would think we have moved on from this sort of thing now wouldn't you? But alas no, another artist making wine out of old bottles is Lucy sparrow who likes sewing sausages.

Lastly the work of Chinese artist Zu Zhen attracts attention for it's silly technique which appears to be extruded thick acrylic rather in the manner of cake icing decoration and with absolutely the same visual significance and meaning. Colourful but so what? No means of transmitting any ideas, just pure visual pleasure on the same level as photographs of coral.

Sodding Selfies

The Saatchi gallery is often responsible for some erroneous and mistaken promotion but this is frankly inexcusable. Talia Chetrit at Sies seems to think that the selfie has an aesthetic value all of it's own that must be pursued at all cost, despite the fact that Stuart Burgin and Cindy Sherman have done the concept to artistic death. She works on regardless producing what can only be described as a rather debased form of self portraiture that's sole artistic distinction is that Pinterest or Facebook has millions of such images that are of more interest and scope. These are truly unoriginal artworks of little note. As are the works of Rachel MacLean who uses lots of glitter and gold in her selfies but they are still essentially just selfies.

Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread is a definite oddity, so familiar yet so unearthly, she goes on giving sculptural form to empty space. Although it seems so significant at first it quickly palls as a sculptural strategy. For much the same reason one gets very bored with Anthony Gormley who is another one trick pony, of which one can say; seen one seen them all because only the context holds anything of interest. There is always a temptation for any artist to repeat a successful and paying strategy but it shouldn't constitute a whole career.

Jasper Johns at the RA

The sixties was a time that generated many visual icons and no artist generated more icons than Johns. Apart that is from Warhol who made it a business strategy. Laura Cumming points this out in the Guardian and she also gets to the bottom of the decline in Johns work through his incessant repetition of the same personal ideas which she says becomes mawkish, in effect turning poetry into prose.

That said however the Flag and the target will remain as significant icons of a time when art and values were much less sophisticated, but one remembers the scandal caused by the target when people realised that one of the little boxes in the installation contained a plaster cast of someones penis. This was completely beyond the pale in 1968, but makes no impression whatsoever in todays Porn culture.

Tate Modern new installations Oct 2017

Those who care about the survival of our art institutions in a time of great financial restraint should also be concerned about the garbage...