Talking about art

There is a lot of crap written about art and I love the latest post on the MONA blog by Elizabeth Mead.

There’s no gold star for ‘getting it’ or even enjoying it.

She says knowing about the work, the artist, why it was made, and why David Walsh bought it, can be interesting, but isn’t essential –

And so why stare at all? You’ll give yourself a headache. Instead, I recommend just taking these things, these history-less objects, as you find them, sitting, well lit, on a plinth or whatever, in the gallery. There’s no hope of recovering their context, some germ of origin for existence. They exist just for you now. Maybe they have something to teach you – but don’t just take them at their word. Make it up for yourself. If there’s something there for you, suck it up, and move on. If there’s nothing just push past to the next piece, or go and have a drink at the bar. The point, the only point, is to have something – a thought, feeling, memory or intention – slide into place, or shift its position.

She says about the contextual essays available on the O devices:

We’re sure the whole thing’s a bit of a farce, which is why we call those essays ‘Art Wank’, and why we also write ‘Gonzo’ pieces on the art, which do away entirely with the concept of objectivity. The writing of history – recording of known or debated facts, the selecting of events and people deemed relevant to your appreciation of the object – is just one voice with which to speak about art, and one you should never take fully at its word. The only truthful way to speak about the present or the past is in a voice that announces, in its every utterance, its lies and silences, its weaknesses and desire to manipulate you, the listener, for its own ends.

Author: Keryn


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