A Mischief Of Magpies

If the Sun were the size of a beach ball then Jupiter would be the size of a golf ball and a Mischief of Magpies would be as small as a pea.

Monday, October 17, 2005

But is it Art?

The Turner Prize nominations are out today. It's very easy to be snobbish about the Turner Prize. So I will be: it's a horrible waste of time, effort, energy and money. Forty thousand pounds will be shared amongst the four hopefuls this year, more cash than the vast majority of the UK makes in a year. Now, I'm not one to sneer at modern art just because it's modern art; I'm one to sneer at it modern art if it's intrinsically crap.

For example, Damien Hirst stuffs various animals and mounts them in formaldehyde solution. Very decorative. But is it art? He says it is because it makes us think: "I am going to die and I want to live for ever. I can't escape the fact and I can't let go of the desire."[D. Hirst, 1995.] OK... but for me, films such as Reservoir Dogs and Bambi Meets Godzilla evoke pretty much the same awareness of death, albeit in a slightly less nebulous way - life is hard and then you die. Nobody calls either of them particularly 'artistic'.

Just for the record, here are some of the nominees' work:

Darren Almond: includes a video of himself talking about his grandmother, a picture of a big digital clock in front of a ship, and two aluminium bus stops. No comment.

Gillian Carnegie: paintings. So she's got no chance of winning then.

Jim Lambie: installation art, including a wardrobe painted pink with black spots and three canvases at jaunty angles with black and white stripes on. Think Legally Blonde meets those weird 'magic eye' pictures on a bigger scale.

Simon Starling: a bike supporting the canvas of a watercolour painting of a cactus. And a bit of sky painted on the ceiling. And a shed with a corregated iron roof. Again, no comment.

Call me a cynic, but a shed and someone whittering on about his granny isn't really art as far as I'm concerned. I hope, for the sake of sanity, that the paintings win, but somehow I doubt it'll happen...


At 11:07 am, Blogger funny thing said...

It's a buyers market.
If people will pay for it, people will exploit it.
Plus forty grand ain't that much when you look at a footballers' wage.

The Turner prize might be bollox, but it's lucrative bollox.

At 11:50 am, Blogger neil h said...

The point with modern art is that if people didn't try new things, then we'd never get anything different. It's like ancient egyptians saying that painting people that aren't sideways on with a cat's heads is new fangled modern rubbish that will never catch on. Sure, some of it is rubbish, but then a lot of traditional art is rubbish - as with classical music the good stuff will survive and still have something to say, and the dross will be quietly forgotten.

The Turner prize is A GOOD THING, if only to get the tabloids up in arms about modern art. Maybe somebody, somewhere will see it and think 'I could do that' and come up with a masterpiece ...

At 8:30 pm, Blogger alan said...

If the paintings win at least we can expect to see Gillian Carnegie's bum all over the place. Which beats bikes, sheds, grannies etc hands down, as far as I'm concerned.

At 2:39 pm, Anonymous Rob said...

Has she got a nice arse then? We need more of that in the art world I reckon. Didn't Chris Ophili win the Turner with paintings? Made of poo though weren't they?

At 12:31 am, Blogger Clairwil said...

I'm torn between Gillians arses and Mr Lambie, not a confession I ever thought I'd have to make. Mr Lambie had a fine mattress covered in buttons in the GOMA. I don't know if that counts as art but it was a pleasure to look at so I think it should.

At 9:42 am, Blogger Matthew said...

Darren Almond's brilliant installation 'If I Had You' was in the Turner Prize 3 years ago. It's a visually stunning, emotionally gripping, wonderfully whimsical piece whose very essence is a glorious testament to the power of human virtue. It's this above all, that is so wonderful about it - it's positive, in the best possible way, about who we are, and how we live our lives.

I've adapted your introduction to your viewing of Amelie as it could equally be said of Almond's work. Did you see it? If not you really missed out mate. Great stuff... and better than a bunch of old water lilies or a cherubs arse any day of the week! Best, Matthew


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