18 December, 2007

Tate Up Itself

Went to Tate Modern with Mo to see Doris Salcedo's Shibboleth. The guard told us that the crack symbolised the gulf between the world's rich and its poor. I actually think the Shibboleth sorts people into those who look at art installations and say, "What a piece of self-indulgent money-wasting crap" and people who nod seriously and pontificate about it.

On the 5th floor there is a gallery with a warning notice - the nature of some of the exhibits is quite explicit and some people "may find it challenging". I love that - so if people are offended by it, it's not because they might possibly have a point, or that it might be offensive. It must be because they are limited molluscs, whose hidebound sensibilities are "challenged" by the artist's radicalism. What was wrong with the old formulation, that some people "may be offended"? Doesn't suggest that they are right or wrong to be offended, just that they may be. Whereas to be challenged definitely suggests that you are too stupid, ignorant, limited etc to understand the work.

Anyway, I went bounding in hoping to be challenged by the explicit nature of the work, but I couldn't exactly work out what was supposed to be challenging about it. This is of course because I am a highly-evolved superbeing - not because I didn't have my glasses on.

Went to a fishbar afterwards on Borough High Street and had whitebait for lunch. V nice.


Blogger Icedink said...

Up itself indeed. That bloody crack in the floor sums up installation art - nowt, a vacuum of intrinsic artistic merit. There are hundreds of good paintings upstairs and, indeed, at Tate Britain - far better. National Gallery still the best, though.

(I'm commenting frequently now, blethering in fact, having got back to the top of the pile. Or is it an inverted pile? - I still don't know).

4:23 pm  
Blogger dgny said...

I'm tired of the word challenge, particularly when it comes to handicaps. A challenge is a cry to battle. A challenge is a dare. A challenge is a coup or a rousing effort to steal the throne. Even mounting Everest, a challenge.

Bad enough they use it on the blind, the non-ambulatory and the gymped, but to refer to someone looking at mart? Sheesh.

5:02 pm  
Blogger 962 said...

DG exactly

Art you like it or you dont
Sometimes its good to have it explained but generally if you dont like it thats ok, it dosent make you challenged.

Its like that tart Yoko Ono all that noise she called music is still crap, even after all these years.

As for the top of the pile, I am relegating FBT from the top of my modest pile as I was unable to maintain my lofty position for more than a day stinky.

12:56 am  
Blogger ulaca said...

Middle class artists labour under the idea that all middle-class people except themselves need their lives shaken up.

4:58 am  
Blogger dgny said...

Yes, and they're all mates with the devotees of the documentary. God-for-fukcing-bid we look at art to be *moved* not challenged and watch a movie to be entertained not chastised.

3:33 pm  
Blogger ulaca said...

Robert Hughes said something about art moving us, and functioning to fill the gap between that part of the world we inhabit and the rest of the world (beyond us and our experience).

4:50 am  
Blogger ulaca said...

Here's what he actually said!

"The new job of art is to sit on the wall and get more expensive" [while its traditional job was and is something more exalted]: "to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and thus pass from feeling to meaning."

2:48 am  

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