Monday, October 20, 2008

ch - Margaret Warman Strikes again ....

Margaret Warman responded to my response ....


Chris Hodson gives a good argument (Standard, Friday, October 10) for what I called a waste of money training artists of today like Jade Bennett who wrapped a fish and chip shop up in newspaper for her course.

Perhaps he could enlighten me as to why the scruffy bedroom scene with the dirty knickers and a condom was given the accolade of a Turner prize, as was the row of bricks and the pile of car tyres.

Now with a great stretch of my imagination, and I have listened to this very extensive explanation by Chris Hodson, I still cannot forsee art collectors 200 years from now paying lots of money for these pictures unlike the collectors of Constable, Monet and Gainsborough to name just a few.

What planet do these intelligent creative and forward-thinking people (his words) come from?

So yet again I have fired off this repsponse:

What planet are we from? Well now, it's around 300 light years past Zeta Reticuli, I can't write its name here as the characters we use are far more advanced than those which appear on your average Qwerty Keyboard. If you haven't already guessed, im being facetious, we in fact hail from Earth.

Art is far more than the creation of 'pictures', it's about research, understanding, exploration, humour, the list is endless. Please open your mind. We aim to push the boundaries of art beyond the frame of a canvas. That's not to say that paintings aren't valid artworks, of course they are, it's just we are 8 (almost 9) years into the new Millenium, mankind has been making art for thousands of years - PAINTING IS NOT THE ONLY OPTION.

I take issue with Margaret Warman's justification for what is good or bad art. In their day Constable, Monet and Gainsborough all broke the rules and were slated for it, other artists over the past few centuries had work torn off the walls and spat on by people who just didn't understand what they were trying to achieve. Fast forward a few hundred years, and most of their work can be found on postcards, mugs, T-Shirts, you name it. Is commerciality really the benchmark for what is good or bad?

You may retort by saying "no, but they are skillfully made", but what you have to bear in mind is that being an artist is not about skill, it doesn't need to be. The huge six foot canvases you see in the National Gallery by the major artists of the Romantic and neo-Classical periods are not what they seem. Many cannot be claimed to be a by particular artist, only from their studio. Apprentices and underlings would do the bulk of the work leaving the 'Artist' to swan in after a few weeks, make a few adjustments and sign it. Stubbs is a classic example, who only used to enjoy painting the Horse's eyes, he ended up with a Mansion in Marylebone and Royal Patronage.

In regard to the works Ms Warman quoted, Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is a reflective piece, almost a self portrait of Emin after she had had a nervous breakdown. It is an exact copy of what her immediate surroundings looked like after she pulled herself out of a major depression. It comes under a type of art known as assemblage or installation, here all the detritus of her life is pulled together in a kind of sculptural collage. Carl Andre's 'Equivalent VIII' from 1982 is not a 'pile of bricks' it is a minimal, conceptual work. One of a number of different versions of the same piece - the bricks can be rearranged according to the will of the artist. The 'car tyres' of which Ms Warman speaks are actually a work by Simon Starling who created a submarine sculpture out of them as his practice explores recycling and re-using.

The works from the Turner Prize she gives are fine examples of the ammunition used by someone who takes no interest in discovering more about art for themselves. I would hazard a guess and say that Ms Warman reads the Daily Mail? She certainly shares their sentiments. What is more, those works are at least 10 years old, are you telling me nothing else has happened in that time? I can assure you it has and continues to. And why does art need approval from anyone? The short answer is it doesn't, not least from people who haven't got a clue what is really going on.

I become increasingly frustrated by people who cannot see past the end of an antique paintbrush.

If you don't like it, don't look at it - ignore it! If I don't like a particular Television programme I switch off or change the channel. I suggest Ms Warman and anyone else who shares her opinion do the same.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Black Hole. 2008 © Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Flow. 2008 © Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Border. 2007 © Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Art and Levitation 001. 2004 © Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet

Hungarian Artist Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet has kindly submitted the following text and the above images for inclusion in our Book:

Art and Levitation project 2004-2008

Levitation is now reality, what is more, a technologically working, and applicable phenomenon. Using it in sculpting, however, can bring up brand new opportunities. According to traditional European approach, sculptures are three dimensional objects, standing on the ground, obeying gravity.
Objects floating in the air, refusing to accept gravity as one of the main powers of nature, can be viewed as tools in seeking connection between the material and spiritual worlds. Sculptures stalled on the ground or the ones separated from it but still based on gravity are of essential connection between the soil and the material, in other words they grow out of it. 20th century hanged sculptures symbolise the connection with the sky, and are of metaphisical coherence. This way, floating objects bring on new thoughts and opportunities.


Tamas uses very strong magnets to make levitating sculptures.

ch - NGA - a little thing that made me smile.

ch - 'Artonaut' Blueprint

ch - ?

ch - Didn't See That Coming.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Exclusive - Contribution from Mark McGowan - enjoy.

Are all Spanish Racists? 2008 Mark McGowan©
Our thanks to Mark Mcgowan - one of five images to be published in our book - release Nov 08.

Exclusive - Contribution from Doug Fishbone - enjoy.

Untitled 2008 - Doug Fishbone©
Our thanks to Douglas Fishbone.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

np - The Future of Art Education - Ikon, ICA & Art Monthly - Cushti!!

Dear Art Monthly,

I am working in collaboration with Christopher Hodson, we are both MA fine art students and both studying in the Midlands, I'm at Wolverhampton, Chris is at Birmingham. We have chosen to write about our experiences in a blog - Our Fine Art MA. We are in the process of designing and editing this blog and have received funding to publish a hard-copy artist book. The book is primarily a diary detailing and documenting our work. However it is also a cursory look at art education and we are also promoting it as a 'users guide.' We have been formulating opinions about art education and comparing our respective institutions. I have been very interested in the recent debates at the ICA and the Ikon. From a student perceptive the positions we find ourselves in are bewildering. I would like to echo a lot of the issues raised in Art Monthly and at the debate, I would like to see a sea change in art education. However radical change would be challenged from both the student body and 'the (corporation) man'. A rock and a hard place. Students are already homogenized and obsessed with timetables, tutorials, semesters and assessments. Students demand their pound of flesh. Even if they haven't done any work they still want their student fees repaid in tutor quality time - they want a 'teacher' to feed and programme them, turn the key and set the cogs spinning. And to some effect what would £2000+ buy you, what are students entitled to? The fees aren't the only reason for this, younger students have already been institutionalized by school and college. The Education industry is here, a bureaucratic machine of the highest specifications in full swing, it has the capacity to make infant schools culture-less -SAT driven syllabuses are filled with Math Science and English. High schools and further education colleges are driven by league tables and an obsession for growth and sprawl with corporate partnerships. Art and a liberal philosophy doesn't really influence younger students. Yes, the conceptual artists of yesterday are working in the Uni's of today, but I dare say that they are not working in the primary or secondary or even in foundation courses, it seems to me a very British problem. That from PhD research to reception education each sector looks down on the the next. To effect change, the utopian ideals of 1968 need to permeate school, college and university education. So you conceptual artists out there, are you willing to forgo your 'cushti' positions and sabbaticals, your research grants and muck in down the ladder?

I thought not.

Heres my utopian dream - University lecturers become visiting and practicing artists teaching across education in uni's, schools and colleges - All have a good and equal wage across all sectors - all have the opportunity for sabbatical and research development.

Monday, October 6, 2008

ch - Yesterday's Chip Papers Today

Last Friday in my local paper, The Bromsgrove Standard, I read the following:

Whatever happened to real art? When you see a student. namely Jade Bennett on TV news, praised for her contribution by wrapping up a fish and chip shop in newspaper, it certainly shocked me to realise what a waste of money it is to train people like her for a future in art.

I take it she will be joining the rest of her ilk in the dole queue.

Margaret Warman, Droitwich.

So I responded with this (which is being published this Friday in the paper.)

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to Margaret Warman's letter published last Friday in the Bromsgrove Standard (3rd October).

Firstly I wish to congratulate Jade Bennett on a thought provoking and lighthearted art work - it is both refreshing and encouraging to see that Art in schools has moved beyond Batik, quilling and block paints.

I very much take issue with belief that it is "a waste of money" to train people like Jade Bennett for a future in art - this is an absolute fallacy.

Having completed my BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art last year (attaining First Class) and being currently halfway through my Masters Degree, I can assure Ms Warman that it was not plain sailing. This long held notion that all art students doss around drinking, smoking, do nothing and then get handed a 'worthless' degree which entitles them to little more than a benefits cheque, frankly, is ludicrous and personally offensive. I, like many of the students on my course (and I'm sure many others) work incredibly hard with little support from the wider community who pass us of as charlatans, wasting everybody's time.

Since having completed my degree last year I've been involved with many projects and exhibitions around the World including: 'The New Generation Arts Festival' in Birmingham, 'Roll Up Art' in Budapest and as part of my art practice attended a United Nations Conference in Vienna, to which I and a colleague were invited. I completely understand that the majority of people either have no interest in, or experience of what is currently going on in the art world, it is seen by many as a scary place inhabited by pickled sharks, it really isn't. It is a place where intelligent, creative and forward thinking people come together in order to stop the cultural aspects of society from stagnating. Come on in, the water's lovely!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

np - Martin Creed at Margaret St. Buying It.

I don't buy it. Buy what?
Martin Creed talked about his current show at the Ikon, there are many things I like, but equally, as many I dislike. I have always enjoyed the idea of numbering works, I like the simple ideas and the use of materials akin to minimalism and conceptualism. Martin however described himself as an expressionist, 'all artists are expressionists.". Martin's talk was labored and awkward to watch, he stalled with long pauses and felt no need to talk about any particular aspect of his work. He started by telling us he enjoys traveling and then encouraged questions. I piped up about the curatorial decisions in putting on a show. Martin talked about the arrangement and impact of works next to other works, he then used a band and album analogy - I concealed a dig by asking if his crumpled ball was the one hit wonder, the encore that the crowd always goes for. In many ways this would be my first criticism, for me Creed's work worked in a world of YBA when gasps of Art angst, and the Turner Prize held sway. Creeds worked played up to the artist-led initiative of creating a new market by referencing the nerve of what constitutes art. The Tate love this rhetoric, they love this provocation of the masses and Creed is a sure fire agent-provocateur. As to the rest the motives behind the work, do I really care? Do I really care about the convulsion or the state of involuntary acts being a state where creativity is at it's purist? It's all very interesting but a little obvious or in the case of Bill Viola done before. Creeds strongest work for me is his collaborative works in response to a brief. Reacting to a space- The Ikon lift is case in point a brilliant work- position specific and activating. protrusions and the lights going on and off at the Tate, these works are far more engaging.
The talk was also a bit 'I'm a genius artist, take it or leave it.' 'make of it what you will' - He may have as well created some adstract expressionist paintings. Martin said he just makes the work, it is up to others to use it - i.e used as art? I piped up again 'so your shit film (a film of a woman defecating), you'd be happy for that to be shown as a training video for a tele-sales team? He replied yes, but I didn't buy it.