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.


roblafrenais said...

Well done for getting your picture and response in the Mail, I may even actually reach out and pick up the previously eschewed and ignored organ when next visiting the parental home in the hope that it has been decontaminated once again by you. By the way the submarine was made by David Mach, on the South Bank, destroyed with fire after an attack in the Daily Telegraph by a 'rejected artist' who unfortunately died in the process.

Pitt & Hodson said...

Thanks Rob! I can't stand newspapers like that who pass their opinion off as fact. Our family now reads The Times.

My mistake, I will try and get that rectified before it goes to press.

Many thanks,


Pitt & Hodson said...

What is it with mums and dads - and the 'thing that shall not be named?' I have tried to remove said 'beasty' on several occasions from dinner table just to be outflanked by the other auwful paper of equal bias with boobs.