Arty Bollocks

It was such a joy to read this,http://blog.eyemagazine.com/?p=139

and this http://www.ipod.org.uk/reality/art_bollocks.asp

because I really hate nonsense, and am disinclined to play ‘the game’ even if it means having shot myself in the foot.

Once upon a time when I lived in South Africa, I went to an exhibition with a friend, about whom it turned out that I knew very little. As we wandered around the exhibition I tried to read all the bumph, the wordiness on the cards by every piece, after a while I grew exasperated by what I thought was time consuming, confusing, and irrelevant to what I was seeing. I figure that ‘art’ should speak for itself, does it really need to have to have a pile of words stuck next to it to make it legitimate? As soon as I see a lot of words accompanying art works, I begin to suspect that they are a filler for something that is missing from the work, or even a filler for what is missing from the viewer that they need to be impressed by fuddle. All I really want to know is who the piece is by, their date of birth  (and death if applicable) and perhaps the date of the creation of the piece. The rest, I feel, is up to me, I either like it, or I don’t like it, I see something in it, or I don’t. Should I not understand it as intended, perhaps due to a lack of relevant education (which is quite likely) then that is a pity, but I don’t see why the accompanying slog of words should be so fuzzy that they begin to slide on the slippery slope to pretentiousness. The moment that happens, I get flashbacks to the exact and marvelous moment when I first fully comprehended the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

Anyway, I found myself on my soapbox, telling my friend that I felt that all the words one had to plough through were pointless, and that I felt that they aided in making the artwork inaccessible, art should speak for itself blah blah blah, and what about the school party just coming in, what would they make of it all? I certainly didn’t understand the references, so how would they understand them? My friend responded that of course they would understand and that she had written the accompanying words with the person putting the exhibition on, and I would understand if I took the time…oops. Talk about wishing the ground would swallow me up. Why didn’t I know that my friend did this sort of writing? I think I always felt that she moved in rarefied circles where there was an element of a secret language, which says lots about me and the circles I moved in, mine were not academic at all! Still, I’m glad I said what I said, and my friend was great about it, I know that I wouldn’t have been able to be so honest had I been trying not to hurt her. Years later I still can’t be bothered with the wordiness, and I’m not the only one, or this wouldn’t exist www.artybollocks.com when I first saw it, I grinned and grinned.

4 thoughts on “Arty Bollocks

  1. I am totally with you on this, for me art is so much about how it makes me feel rather than what the artist (or the person writing the artist statement) has to say about it. I was to look at it from the quiet place in my head and decide what I think, its a bit like someone telling you that you “will” love something…..

  2. Min,I could have written this myself and laughed my pants off reading it! Ask anyone who knows me about my Emporer’s New Clothes rant!

    • Thank you Sue!
      Even though you didn’t get a word in edgewise I figured that we were on the same page with this, I’m glad you laughed : )

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