“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, July 26, 2013

"This is Art: You Will Like It"

This kind of injunction, identical to "Perfectly Ripe Mangoes," is why I don't visit the Tate Modern.

But now the Tate Britain has been sucked into the orbit of Philistinism 2.0. It's an upgrade because now you are welcome to enjoy contemporary art: just look at how valuable and famous it is! And just like what the Americans and French had in the 1950s! I feel so cool Britannia!

It's like commerce without imperial guilt! Seriously Guilt Free Money!

What is now the entrance hall is bedecked with something like Matisse's snail, only it isn't. It's a huge waste of wall that says "Hey kids, this is modern art and it's fun. Enjoy!"

Please please give me my blank fucking walls back.

Then the central hall is empty, and impassable: no one, quite literally, is in it. Because a sound piece is enjoying it on your behalf. I'm a fan of pieces that roam around with cameras, the way it does. The dark ecology piece at the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague was all over that. But this is just a fairground ride around the hall. A ride that no one is enjoying.

Net result? It's like watching a deserted helter skelter on Brighton Pier from the corner of your eye as you try to take your mind off the ghettos in which the "historical" art is hanging.

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