Monday, June 12, 2006

What I'm talkin' about!


I snapped this on the grounds of Montserrat. I call it, "How Art as Political or Egalitarian Statement is Always Ugly and Sometimes Really, Really, Really Ugly."

This was one of several "statues" (it doesn't feel right to use the same word that defines the Pieta and the David as this monstrosity) around Montserrat that are efforts by the contemporary keepers of the shrine to bring in a touch of modern art.

HORRID! My friend asked me how to describe it. I said, "It reminds me of that old joke about why Nikita Kruschev's mother named him Nikita. ...Because she couldn't spell 'bleeeeeccccccckkkkk!'"

More than anything, this kind of work manifests a lack of craft. If you had any talent at all, you wouldn't be satisfied to stop in your work and call this thing done.

We saw this kind of thing in several places in Europe. In every place the old stuff made the new stuff look cheap and inadequate. I was embarrassed for my age.

2 comments:

The Dover Beachcomber said...

More than anything, this kind of work manifests a lack of craft. If you had any talent at all, you wouldn't be satisfied to stop in your work and call this thing done.

Yes, absolutely, a lack of craft is exactly it. Young artists have always been impatient to make their mark, of course. But in the past, that impatience was corrected by the unwavering insistence of master artists that the young must learn their craft first. Now, in art as in so many other things, self-expression is king, and all but the crudest rules of craft have gone by the board.

Funny, though. In the the "static" arts like sculpture and painting, people with no craft can get away with anything, simply by claiming that their misshapen progeny are full of hidden meaning that we Philistines are too ignorant to appreciate. In movies, however, you still can't do that. Without mastery of the craft, you simply can't produce anything that anyone will watch for more than two minutes. You can certainly make a movie that lies and misrepresents, but even those who agree with your lies will ridicule you for poor movie-making, as we recently saw in Cannes with DVC.

Now, if we could only get that same derisive laughter ringing in university art departments, there would be hope!

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