10 years pricking the art voodoo doll 2005-2015

Month: September 2008

Stuck in the past? : Serota and Stuckists

As a professional ‘misery guts’ and also a professional creative I somehow come from both sides of
the argument at the same time….

Having taken all that bitter rant to a new location by transforming it into the artwork itself how thendo the more scathing of the above commentators ( especially the first past the post nocturnal expert who has little else to do) going to react to venom as art?

Probably not all that well and…..oh dear there I am again consigned to the scrapheap of irrelevance in the archive….nothing new there sweeties…

I brushed up against Charles and his mob early on and indeed went to the show near Liverpool Street. The arguments were sound the art was not and I thought then it lacked technical ability and no fruit of the Vine has convinced me it has changed since…sorry Charles. Saatchi accomodated it and removed its sting by snatching at the Vine and the Tate and Serota can now easily brush it aside like flies off a Hirst.

Serota created a marketing opportunity by driving up South Bank retail activity on a scale that has lead to similar schemes across the country. From an economic standpoint he a genius and deserves all he gets.

His Tate Boredom is less successful despite the hype which must be maintained to justify the rash of similarly blighted projects across the country now the ‘extra cash’ in the punters pockets not jingling so freely.

Some things it does well…some things badly. The John Lewis food halls with ‘artistic’signatures and the badly hung floors are one side of the coin…the Twombly the and Fred Williams the other. …one thing one cannot accuse Serota of is not knowing his art though.

The Stuckists have always had an eye for the PR opportunity ( very new-Tory there) and JJ you have sadly served their purpose well again as the replies show.

There are larger problems with the intrinsic structure, nepotism and wholescale destruction of value in the art world. Solid scholarship and sound criticism have been all but undermined by the flush of cash. Catalogue entries became advertising jingles…..movements became PR stunts….artists became curatorial pawns in a heady dance on the ashes of skills and tradition.

That is the real rot in the barrel of plenitude and splendid aisles we now traverse.

I sometimes dream of another art world where Jopling and Saatchi never appeared where Artscribe and Modern Painters and Peter Fuller did not cease to exist in a vibrant,  critical form. An art press not dependent on favours, nepotism and Gucchi adverts. Of course it just a dream….a fantasy…

Values are such unfashionable things and can blight ones career so badly…

Until then I will continue to seethe in the wings with all the other poor failures and provide such good copy for the metropolitan elite with their effortless superiority.

Or maybe just maybe….there is truth in our reality somewhere after all……an uncomfortable truth those who have most to lose should the rules change…would rather ignore or disparage…

There’s the rub methinks….

self promotional link follows….


after all no criticism ever hurt as much as being ignored…..

Bacon and hash….

Comment on Jonathan Jones blog entry ‘Francis Bacon: The man’s a bloody genius’


I was so dazzled by both the myth and the man that I tried to be him for a brief few years in 1980’s before the fever lifted. I’d agree that he not better than Matisse or Picasso that a given ..I’d also add not as good as Braque whose interiors have a similar constrictive space.

What I loved then and still love whilst not being as mad keen on the actual works ( Kossoff and Auerbach have more essential ‘positive’ humanity in my opinion) is the fact that he lived and breathed painting and nothing else..no conference meetings. no academic puff, no phd madness…just art.

In my opinion Bacon and School of London will still be there on the art world timeline in 100 years time long after the fin-de-siecle speculators wet dream of YBA and Brit art has been erased totally.

NOTHING and I mean nothing produced by a ‘British’ artist since 1988 can come close in quality, depth and essential ‘meaning’ to Bacon. He was not the catalyst for these pretenders to throne he was their nemesis..they were beaten before they started.

Hirst recently praised Bacon ( a sixth-former’s reading will lead inevitably to the flies…oh the horror, the horror) but dismissed Auerbach showing that he knows no more about painting now than when he painted a cat all those years ago…Hirst cannot paint any more than Jade Goody could have been a conceptual artist (although who would say she not more savvy than Emin?). To hint at Goya, Schiele and Bacon as precursors shows the so called geniuses of Brit Art way out of their depth.

Bacon is a triumph and stands alongside them rightly and the Tate show will prove that. What we have to endure in the Tate Modern as representative of British Art since does not..time to paint out that horrible starbucks hoarding of artists signatures or at very least remove a few ‘pretenders to the throne’.

In sequence…Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Bacon…..yes….

Picasso, Braque, Matisee, Bacon, Hirst, Emin, and Opie for god’s sake…

‘Yer having a laugh Nicky baby’?

wine with your fries?


a comment posted on Jonathan Jones blog

‘Could the economic crisis affect art?’


As I live on another planet to the London-based coterie the notion that the art world around here will change at all is an amusing one. You won’t miss what you never had comes to mind. The only money spent on art in the East Midlands is Arts Council money and most of that now curtailed. In my opinion a good thing because most of that money wasted on vain glorious local artists who seriously deluded about their own importance. After the ‘golden decade’ of lottery money there not one East Midlands artist who could be truly be shown as part of the ‘elite’ earners pace Hirst and Co’s banker friendly cohort.

We do have some ominously empty ‘centres of excellence’ though to keep these vanity artists alive though so the cracks will not show for a few years yet…not until the squeezed taxpayers call a halt to their running costs….maybe sooner rather than later round here..

So far from worrying about the ‘crunch’ ( we been in crunch for years) the main problem is that the illusion of some fairy godmother capitalism that there to aim for awaiting our cutting edge heroes with open arms ..well it shattered…..thankfully…..

So now the question is what do we replace those bubble fuelled illusions with?

Teaching skills again in art-schools or at least transferable skills instead of left-wing delusions and right-wing dreams? We have to tell our young students something truthful instead of leading them down the garden-path….admittedly a well-paid path for some but a heap of nettles for others.

Capitalism will not collapse, ailment a squeeze only a pinch at the top and a crushing weight at the bottom.

I hope the ‘crunch’ (sounds like Kellogs advert already) will at the very least awaken a sense of realism in those provincial capitals hell-bent on being the next Miami or Venice Biennale…..

It’s over…if it ever started…..time to clear the decks, cheap use your heads and start ignoring the cloud of deceit called the International Art World and concentrate on basics. I wouldn’t call that new labourism, conservatism or marxism..I’d call that common sense. There are some very hard times ahead and no ‘bounce’ is ever going to smokescreen that…art is not going to be top of anybody’s agenda….

Least of all the taxpayer worried about bills, council tax rising and losing a job…..are they to be comforted by the latest cutting edge show of relational puff in the multi-million pound arts centre…..

No of course not……and rightly so.

The banking bubble has burst..next the panacea of regeneration through art will explode too….and we will be working in the ruins for years to come.

“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away

In that desert many strange blooms will thrive both right and left-wing let us hope some do not thrive…