Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Keeping this short today, as I have been too busy umm.. spring cleaning (how creative) to actually produce much over the last couple of days, and I have to rush off to go to the Turner in Italy exhibition quite soon.

So I'll just talk briefly about what I have been reading of late - 'This is Modern Art' by Matthew Collings, - or rather, the thoughts it's sparked.

I came across this book whilst preparing my application for the Saatchi Best of British thing - Collings is one of the judges - along with Tracey Emins, Kate bush (curator at the Barbican), Frank Cohen, (art collector). I read a few of his articles on line, and as a Brit Art 'insider', he seemed to have something worth saying. I've been thinking a lot about 'Shock Art', and contemporary high art which stems from it lately, and it's been - well, to be honest - making me angry.

It seems to be a joke that's lasted twenty years, when the punchline only deserved a mild groan. I've always to keep an open mind about modern art, but recently while at an exhibition by Hayley Tompkins at the botanics, with my family (art lovers, modern art haters) when I began to wonder why I should. I mean really - a painted tea spoon stuck to the wall - why do we tolerate this as a worthwhile use of someones time, much less fund them to do it? it seems what was once avante garde is now the height of childishness and self indulgence. Or maybe I am just getting older.

But then, if we reject modern art, what are we left with? repetition of what has gone before? Once irony has crept in to anything, is it possible to again make an honest endeavour of it without it seeming - well, a bit silly and naive? emotional?

The Stuckist, or remodernist, movement seem to offer an alternative - a return to beauty in painting - but their manifesto, written by Billy Childish, seems full of unfounded petty spite, and the accompanying beliefs of expressing spirituality through art just make me groan (although in a different way to the joke of contemporary high art...)

So what's left? there are plenty of painters working out there between those stools. It's not impossible to find an in-between that is philosophically legitimate, surely. I just have to find it..

I'll keep reading Matt Collings, and let you know if he can shed any light on the situation for me. In the mean time, I'm off to find real inspiration in the form of Turner.


  1. I have nothing worthwhile to add about modern art - I too fail to see the value in some of the things that are produced.

    But I wish I was going with you to the Turner exhibition. Turner is my favourite...

  2. the exhibition was truly truly awesome. It's on for a couple of months, so you just need to come to edinburgh..

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