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to think a lot of "art" is in fact self indulgent tat?

(257 Posts)
HattiFattner Mon 13-Jun-11 09:45:06

I went to an exhibit of students work this weekend.

Some of it was extraordinary and showed amazing talent.

Most of it was a load of tat. Not just that, but over thought, pretentious and had a royal element of intellectual self gratification about it....

I came away thinking that the "artists" were suffering from a bad case of the Emperors New Clothes - "Oh i took a neoclassical genre and use it to create an installation about teenaged angst in the 21st century and really you must be an intellectual to understand the use of light and space and ...."

- no love, you made a bowl. With a bunny in it.

And of course if you said that to their face "She just doesnt understand it..."

I would like a really Simon Cowell moment with some of them and to be able to call them out. But their argument is "Its "art" because I say it is."

Hey, on that basis I live in an "installation" called "Domestic Chaos"

Or maybe "Untitled IV" which makes it sound alltogether more worthy.

itisnearlysummer Mon 13-Jun-11 09:46:59


I've seen some of the art by A level students at my son's school and I am amazed by the talent and the work that some of these kids have produced.

However, I am equally amazed by some of the crap that I see.

cuttingpicassostoenails Mon 13-Jun-11 09:48:20

I live in an "installation" called "Domestic Chaos" copycat you. It was MY idea...I've been doin' it for years.

I do agree with you though.

noddyholder Mon 13-Jun-11 09:48:30

It is in the eye of the beholder but better to be creating ANYTHING and being part of something artistic than just slating it. It is like anything where individual taste comes into ie. Art is just a physical representation of what is going on in the artists head there is no good and bad. Better they are doing something they love and having a passion than not YABVU

AuntieMonica Mon 13-Jun-11 09:48:33

of course it's very nature of the beast it has to be, surely?

how can you be creative without being self-indulgent?

and as for tat - most definitely there is some tat about, but it's subjective, non?

<not helpful, not even big or clever>


Primalscream Mon 13-Jun-11 09:48:42

Agree - just look at Tracey emin

InWithTheITCrowd Mon 13-Jun-11 09:50:22

I agree. Some of my 6th formers have openly admitted that they had no real idea what they wanted to do for their final pieces, and one (last year) actually created an installation that was a piece of white fabric, with mouths projected onto it and some beat music that was pumped through a box nearby (that I actually set up for him, because he didn't know how to rig the system)
He called it something arty-farty to do with chaos and the modern world, and got an A. It took him about 5 minutes to come up with the idea, and about half an hour to implement it. The rest of his time, he spent faking research....

Cattleprod Mon 13-Jun-11 09:52:54

YANBU. It gives good artists a bad reputation, to the extent that I am now much more comfortable referring to myself as a designer, even though much of my work could be classified as 'art'.

'Using the medium of raku fired clay juxtaposed with steel as a metaphor for the inequalities of the human condition' was the kind of bollocks we were expected to come up with at art school. Everything had to have some pretentious 'meaning'. I just wanted to make cool stuff that people wanted to have in their houses!

EnnuiGo Mon 13-Jun-11 09:55:35

Is it not more about them creating it than you appreciating it? Especially at the age you talk about - it's not as if they were asking you to pay £1000s for it...

BakeliteBelle Mon 13-Jun-11 09:57:22

One of my best days out was looking round the Turner Exhibition a few years ago and reading the comments book - a belly-laugh. Seems like quite a few people thought modern art was the Emporers New Clothes

EnnuiGo Mon 13-Jun-11 09:58:24

I think a lot of artists have that issue too Cattleprod - or they will say they are in the 'craft' business.

I spent some time for work looking at fine art exhibitions an dfelt that the stuff that came out of the foundation levels was far more creative than at the end of the fine Art (or whatever) degree. It became a bit samey by then - all dolls heads, raw meat and depressed looking emo girls yelling into cameras.

Having said that of course 20% of it was fantastic.....

iscream Mon 13-Jun-11 10:01:07


mumblechum1 Mon 13-Jun-11 10:02:07

YANBU. I only go to Tate Modern for the cafe on the top floor. I try to avoid looking at the art on the way up.

5DollarShake Mon 13-Jun-11 10:05:19

But the thing is, maybe you don't understand it. grin I mean, the stuff you thought was amazing, someone else would have thought was a load of old tut.

It's art. It's not quantifiable. If someone loves something enough to want to gaze upon it, that's all that matters.


ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Mon 13-Jun-11 10:05:43

YANBU. But I don't have an artistic bone in my body, and buy pictures for the wall to match my cap our scheme.

Omigawd Mon 13-Jun-11 10:08:32

I think the "20% is good" number is about right in my opinio. I may not know much about art but.... grin

MoreBeta Mon 13-Jun-11 10:09:06

YANBU. Some of it is tosh and some of it brilliant.

Some of the stuff in London art galleries on sale for many thousands of pounds really is Emperor's New Clothes. Produced specifically for people with no taste but who just want to splash boom time money around to impress and sold by snake oil salemen.

EnnuiGo Mon 13-Jun-11 10:09:24

But would your 20% be the same as mine? wink grin

BelovedCunt Mon 13-Jun-11 10:09:44

yes and no. there is a lot of tat generally in modern life. xfactor, macdonalds, wii fit.

if someone can lift the soul for a few minutes with an 'installation' i say well done. it doesn't have to have a monetary value or hang on the wall to be art. but yes at degree shows there is alot of shit, it is the nature of the beast.

grottielottie Mon 13-Jun-11 10:17:21

I would agree that student shows tend to be comprised of 80% rubbish 10% good 10% great, but those figures and the artwork would be different for everyone.

The same is true of alot of group exhibitions in big galleries, some work will hold meaning for you some won't (but you should spend the time to look and think as you would with a challenging book or great piece of music).

Primalscream- lots of people use Tracy Emin as an example of bad/hyped work who have seen very little of it, but read about it it the press. I'm interested to know how much of her work you have seen? Just asking as I went to her exhibition at the haywood this weekend and was struck by the beauty of her embroidered work and prints.

noddyholder Mon 13-Jun-11 10:19:48

Art is not just about pleasing the masses with something that will appeal to a wide demographic. It is about expressing something no matter how others respond to it. I always laugh at those who sneer at Tracey Emin and the like saying I could do that Its only XYZ I usually say Why don't you then you'd be a millionaire instead of working 9-5 for the average wage.

honeyandsalt Mon 13-Jun-11 10:32:03

I'd have to agree there is a LOT of obfuscation and faux fudged intellectualism about, using the longest and grandest words possible. It sort of gives the impression that it's a wholly intellectual thing, whereas a lot of the time it's funny or emotional or spiritual, or a lot more obvious than you think because the obfuscation gives them impression that you're looking at a page of Prof Hawking's calculations but the work might be more about death or domestic space, which we can all relate too.

AuntieMonica Mon 13-Jun-11 10:36:31


i have no idea what half the words (ok, exaggeration much) in your post ^^ up ^^there but have to agree! wink

it's the whole intellectual snobbery thing that hinders much appreciation of art and other people's creativity.

if in a gallery or similar, it's really awful if you've shown your liking for something and then someone else makes sneering remarks and totally poo-poos your personal taste!

Primalscream Mon 13-Jun-11 10:38:28

If I wanted to create a pile of pretentious crap for normal sensible people to sneer at I could -
Some impressionable people pretend to 'get' artists like tracey emin because they thnk it makes them look 'deep' (( Sniggers ))

BelovedCunt Mon 13-Jun-11 10:41:51

i don't pretend to like art primal. live and let live.

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