Monday, October 20, 2008


I had my feet up this weekend as far as the blogging thing goes, Sunday being my 52nd Birthday, I thought I'd head to London for a bit of culture, spent the morning with Mrs Me in Tate Britain, which went well, started off, with two cups of coffee, a slice of fruit cake (with change from a tenner) and a free copy of the Observer, free parking (on Sunday) only upset being when my mobile went off in the gallery dramatised by an attendant going near hysterical, blimey, its only a phone (I always turn off for films, theatre, courses and funerals) god knows what a visit to Margate Gateway Library would do to this women.

Even exposure to some great works held at the Tate eventually palls and by about 2pm Mrs Me was getting a tad fractious, so fresh air and a walk down the Thames toward Parliament Square across Westminster Bridge sauntering along the South Bank until coming up to the disused power station now trading as Tate Modern.I understand that Tate Modern has been a great success, why or how are beyond me, entering the large space which I think is called the Turbine gallery or whatever, populated with bunk beds and massive sculptures which unlike art from an earlier age does not give pleasure or pain or escapism or indeed pass on any emotion it just seems, not only joyless but meaningless.

To understand modern art, I think you have to be conditioned, as an example strolling through Tate Modern we stumbled upon a pile of bricks, these were stacked two high perhaps five or six across and maybe 8 or 9 length ways, my natural reaction is what the ****! now had this been at work I would no doubt moved the bricks to the wall, so the didn't become a tripping hazard but if your told its art theirs the urge to conform (I managed to resist). Perhaps the most interest thing you notice walking round is how most visitors spend more time reading the description of exhibits than looking at the "art works" themselves.

In the hour or so I made myself walk round, probably the only thing that was familiar and or vaguely engaging was Roy Lichtenstein's Whaam, although this always leaves me wanting to see the whole comic.
Earlier in Tate Britain we had the privilege of looking at some of Tracy Emin's stuff which was (this is my opinion) primitive and well within the capabilities of any angry teenager, although I must say I have some sympathy with the piece "Sad Shower in New York" I've only stayed in cheap Hotels in that part of the world and agree the plumbing is crap, (were all adults here I assume, if not look away now),"Fuck you Eddy", to be honest is reminiscent of much, local art graffiti genre which I believe can still be found in local toilets (give me banksy any day) , "Tracy Emin C.V." comprises several pages and if it were me, I'd consider getting someone to type it up and also condensing the content down to one page, still what do I know, Tracy Emin is worth millions, me not quite so much.
Outside the Tate Modern, was I think a demonstration of sorts, in the form of a Funeral officiated by Contemporary Art Collective, I had a word with one of the participants who mumbled about their being to much money producing too much worthless art, but still for all I know maybe their part of the industry.Anyway I don't think I'll get any opposition next year from Mrs Me if I suggest a visit to the air museum at Duxford.

Finally this quote from Tracy 'Being an artist isn't just about making nice things, or people patting you on the back; it's some kind of communication, a message'. Too right, I reckon this also goes for bloggers as well, if any rich art collector or patron would like to bung a few quid toward Bignews you can always email me.

Tate Britain Tracy Emin exhibit

PS Tate Britain has a nice selection of Turner stuff, which I'll be surprised if it ever washes up in Margate


  1. As Andy Warhol said, " Art is what you can get away with"

    My personal veiw is that it is all arty farty pretentious crap that serves no usefull purpose other than to satisfy the egos of folks who have nothing better to do.

  2. The "nice selection of Turner stuff" is the Turner bequest, left by him for the Nation. The Extention to the Tate Britain was built especially to house it.
    I'm really looking forward to The TC being built, but I do wonder sometimes if it isn't wasted on a local population who knows and cares so little about the Nations most famous artist.

  3. Oh I love Duxford. Bit of a treck though from Thanet!

  4. Perhaps if there were some basic criteria for being an artist, say being able to draw a recognisable likeness of something, then this sort of nonsense wouldn’t occur. With modern art and I am not knocking Emin or any of the other modern artists, is that the people funding this with our money can’t make an aesthetic qualitive judgment between say her and Picasso. When a technically competent artist does something that steps away from conformity of the period to shock us, the act is an artistic statement, like “Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral” when someone who isn’t able to produce conventional art of some quality tries this, under the misapprehension that a continuing series of shocks does anything other than make society less shockable, which is not in any sense what art should be for one feels that the artistic community is letting the rest of us down by supporting what is an emperors no clothes situation.

  5. Dear Mr Child -

    Would you then ask of your rock/pop stars that they make sure they can play a fine sonata on a piano, before they are aloud to let rip on an orgiastic guitar riff, to prove their worth. Or even maybe to have a right to play in public?

    It is the same thing is it not; just another medium to express oneself? If you do disagree then please do elucidate.

    And constable - 170 odd years after he died and you cant manage to come up with a more contemporary art maverick. How about Picasso or Duchamp, Moore, Beuys, Richter etc etc. Again would you use a 200 year old musician as an example of rebellion as a comparison to music from the 1960's, 70s, 80's or 90's etc. I doubt it, because it doesn't make sense, as the reason for making the music (or art) then have change radically to the reasons people make art now.

    Constables Salisbury cathedral is a romanticized chocolate box view of that building commissioned by the bishop, who stands in the corner of the image. It would never have been seen by the likes of you or me. The academy was for academicians not for the public.

    Is that how you would like it again; an even more elitist practice held behind closed doors?

  6. yes-well said 9-30.cllr harrison that may well be your view but art is many things to many people and my view is most cllrs are full of pretentious crap that serves no useful purpose other than to satify their own inflated egos with nothing better to do..

  7. 9.30 Music is a bit different here, as it is the people who want rock music who pay for it and also rock music has become progressively more difficult to play. Even the most orgiastic guitar riff still can be written in notes on a score and believe me you seldom find a rock guitar being played where people are paying to hear it, that is out of tune.

    Ergo classical orchestras can a do play Hendrix and rock musicians play Beethoven on the rock guitar, so the musicians I know tend to play across the rock classical divide or even in-between.

    However, Constable I was actually thinking of, the storm picture you know the one with the rainbow that looks like something out of a Picasso, but ok what about Constable’s Stonehenge in could easily be by Dali.

    No my problem here is that it is public money that is being spent, based on an aesthetic judgment usually made by someone unqualified to do so. My suggestion is then that decisions like, say, the relieve worth of a Picasso, to say an Emin be made by people who are definitely artists, i.e. can draw a reasonable likeness of something.

    Back to your musical analogy I am quite happy for someone do decide how much public money can be spent on a free concert, so long as the decision as to how much the musicians are paid is made by someone who can pay a recognisable tune on a musical instrument, and is therefore a musician, and frankly it makes no difference if it is played on an electric guitar or a concert grand or is classical rock etc.

    I am in a unique position to gauge local peoples taste in art, as they spend their own money on art books in my bookshop the large majority buy books where the pictures in them are discernibly attractive.

  8. Thanks for all the comments, they are as ever useful, however the one I like particularly 1:45 PM anonymous, clearly a smug superior type, who no doubt could quote chapter and verse about Turner, just as a punter without being smug or even a smart arse, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of seeing Turner's work close up.

    The way I feel about art, literature, drama music etc., is that it's more important to enjoy and appreciate such things, without having to know all the techniques and nuances involved in their creation, still perhaps anonymous 1:45 PM, you're just two special to reside in Thanet since most of us are only human

  9. Oy - Hands off Tracey! She's the nearest thing Margate has to a superstar!