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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Art for Art's Sake

Good art, like good newspaper columnists, should divide opinion.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and it would be a sad world that didn't encourage diversity, variety and controversy.

So I was amused when the Daily Mail in its usual heavy-handed, "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" style launched a broadside against Damien Hirst this week. The writer told us gleefully that Hirst's works are falling in price, and that the adulation around him was Emperor's New Clothes, because he can't paint or draw and has dozens of minions who churn out his works.

Tracey Emin wasn't free from the broadside either, as the writer poured venom onto her "dirty bed."

No, real artists are the likes of JMW Turner, said the writer.

Hmmm. I admire the works of JMW Turner but I'm afraid their...well, sludginess, and high percentage of ship content, does not induce any sort of emotional response in me. Nor does the work of Damien Hirst, but I wouldn't be so naive as to criticise one artist over another. Indeed, the Bishop of Chichester has defended Hirst this week, saying he is an agent of Jesus Christ, a man of substance whose "exquisite" work draws us to a contemplation of Heaven.

And that is as it should be. Everyone perceives art in a different way and has a different reaction to it.

A few years ago, I had an encounter with the three Rothkos in Tate St Ives. I was completely floored; sat transfixed, feeling myself consumed within those boundless colours.

I'm sure that Daily Mail writer would sneer at the work of Mark Rothko. He would probably say a child of six could do something similar.

This writer even sneered at the wonderful "A Bigger Picture" David Hockney exhibition a few months ago. I had a less emotional response but nonetheless I was breathless and awe struck at the energy and passion that resonated through the galleries. This was not the work of an elderly man, and in this lies the beauty of art. Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon were still painting just before they died, and their work had lost none of his power or vigour.

Art makes you immortal.

1 comment:

Maggie May said...

I seem to be missing something because that kind of art doesn't really do anything for me.
Each to their own!
Maggie x

Nuts in May