Friday, 3 June 2005

Paradise for Philistines

Imagine a world in which the philistines controlled art. Ugliness, tastelessness, and tat would reign. Whatever was fiscally, politically or ideologically gratifying (for everything must have its use to the Philistine) would be praised as having merit, whereas what the Philistine cannot achieve - beauty, taste and skill - would be traduced as philistinism. One need not imagine such a world.
.....It helps that we are reminded each year of the worthlessness of modern art by the spectacle of the Turner Prize, the nominations for which have been announced. It is a time when rather dim people feel obliged to pretend that art is anything cobbled together by a simpleton with a degree in potato-printing. Here is what Sandra Laville of The Guardian has to say:

Almond's work focuses on time, using the digital clock as a focal point. He is also fascinated by the language of light, using his pictures to illuminate the night, turning darkness into light to allow people to witness scenes they would not normally be able to see.

Lambie, an artist, musician and DJ, constructs installations and sculptures from everyday materials like album covers, wool and safety pins.

All of which prompted the inevitable question from John Humphrys yesterday on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: 'But is it art?'

Modern art is indeed art insofar as it is not rocket science.


Anonymous said...

Why do people insist on continuing to ask the question 'Is It Art?" Let's just say that yes, it is art, everything is art if we say it is. Right, with that out of the way, we can get to the real point which is this: - It's all very BAD Art.

Deogolwulf said...

Just so. Trying to define art to the satisfaction of everybody is hopeless, not only because aesthetic principles cannot be brought down to rational or empirical ones, but also because there are persons perversely committed to exploiting the ambiquities and sensibilities involved in those areas of life where taste has a greater say than reason.

Anonymous said...

When people ask the question "Is This Art?' what they really mean to ask is "Is this of any quality?". You can have bad art of course, but for these people to call something Art at all lends it a certain dignity. Though they believe they are asking a question about quality, in fact they are not.