In my younger days I had ambitions to be a professional artist, I devoted a great deal of time and effort in developing my skills as a painter and to that end I also devoted much of my time at university to trying to understand the nuances of communication. My reasoning was rather simple, namely that any art making is about communicating ideas and reflections on our existence to the viewer of an art work.
So I did the rounds of the “scene” I went to exhibitions and openings and I developed friendships with a few people who were playing the game of ingratiating themselves with the art buying public. And eventually I came to the conclusion that the most important tool that any artist needs in their kit bag is a large trowel, with which they can lay on a substantial layer of bullshit. To “succeed” you need no talent and certainly no technical skill, you don’t even need to have anything profound to say, all you need is the right line of patter to sell yourself as an “artist”.
No where is this more the case than when it comes to abstract expressionism. Now I am just as impressed with the pretty patterns that can happen when someone throws some colour onto a panel or canvas , heck such a panel may well make the décor of your living room look really swish but when it comes down to it such “art” has absolutely nothing to say, it is entirely decorative and probably only worth the cost of its materials . So I am naturally dismissive of the story about a four year old “artist” that is doing the rounds:
Of course every parent loves the “art works” that are produced by their four year old but I can’t help thinking that the parents of this little girl are actually guilty of a type of child abuse here by using their child to make a quid or two from the gullible “art world scene”. Yeah the pictures are cute and even sort of pleasing but really do they have anything to say?
Look now to the picture at the head of this piece and tell me is that Art?
Come on does it have anything to say about the human condition either?
To my mind this sort of thing is rather like our celebrity culture ; its all about spin and propaganda and there is no subculture in our society that exhibits a greater ratio of spin to substance than the “art world”. We have government departments and quangos devoted to the development of “Art”and they really collectively produce very little of substance , but they certainly do keep a whole class of idiot savants in lollipops and Latte, worse still the public have been lead to believe that we should bow down to the idea that the value of an art work is entirely dependant upon how much money successive idiots are are prepared to pay for coloured mud spread on canvas. Likewise we are fed the myths that certain individuals should be seen as some sort of mystic visionary for producing works such as the one done by Aelita Andre or any other piece of “modern Art” for that matter .
However if you take a moment to scrape the bullshit away from your eyes you may just appreciate that the picture at the head of this page was painted by a Chimpanzee and that the one done by the four year old is not substantively different, maybe we should consider that sobering thought as we laugh at the idiot who has paid $24000 an Aelita Andre painting…