Archives for category: art wank

I was excited to attend the opening of the Substation Contemporary Art Prize last month because my friend David Thomson was one of 50 finalists in the exhibition.

Overall I was disappointed with the exhibition. The three prizes awarded were all for video works. There were about 13 videos in the show. The SCAP is intended to ‘recognise and encourage innovation in contemporary art practice’.

A video work has to grab my attention or entertain me in the first minute or I turn off. We are so bombarded by video, TV, advertising,  movies, music clips, youtube, that video art has to be really clever or beautiful to stand out (and preferably short!) I dislike work with an obscure conceptual artist statement full of big words that I can’t understand, that I suspect is actually meaningless art wank.

You shouldn’t have to study art theory or have specialist knowledge to appreciate an artwork. I love art, and have studied it for four years, so if I can’t understand the concept behind an artwork, how is the average viewer supposed to understand it?

In the project, by Eric Bridgeman, was a video diary filmed during a artist residency in Canada in 2011. Bridgeman dressed up as a golliwog character and cavorted around his studio in front of a camera. I thought it was self-indulgent narcissism, and I couldn’t believe it when it won first prize and the judge described it as a ‘layered work’ about being an outsider. I don’t understand how this work has any more artistic merit than, say, reality TV footage or an amateur video diary on Youtube. I couldn’t watch the whole thing, I found it repetitive and boring.

bridgeman_in-the-project-005
Still from In the project, Eric Bridgeman, video/DVD, 2012

I think that in 100 years time, video art may be seen as a fad in modern art from the 1960s until now, especially popular since the 1990s. After several decades, the medium is hardly ‘innovative’. The art world is cyclical. It depends on what the art schools are encouraging students to do, and critics and curators are promoting, and it seems they are still pushing video and multi-media work rather than traditional painting, drawing and printmaking. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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