Blog Gigs Facts Music Shop Links
home >  blog :  current /  archive /  RSS Feed

Blog: Art Bollocks

< previous next >
On Monday evening The Culture In My Society and I went to look at Frieze Sculpture 2018 in Regents Park. We went to it last year and thought it was GRATE, so when the aforesaid Notes In My Guide suggested a return trip I was WELL up for it.

It was a lovely evening and the park was PACKED with people sitting around having picnics, but the ART itself was, overall, not as good as last year. There were some good bits - a PAVILION which reminded me strongly of the bird houses in Central Park in Peterborough (this MAY not be what it was meant to be like) and a sculpture made of various iron TUBES you could look through - but a lot of it was just Sort Of All Right. The MAIN problem, however, was with the descriptions, which were AWFUL.

This is a common thing in THE ARTS, where people who are dead good at SCULPTURE or PAINTING or INSTALLATIONS or what have you try to sound DEAD CLEVER in an area that they are really really bad in i.e. Writing Comprehensible English. I've seen loads of ART over the years which, when explained in HUMAN TALKING by The Actual Artist suddenly makes huge amounts of sense and becomes ALL THE BETTER, but are described in the accompanying notes using INCOMPREHENSIBLE NONSENSE which, frankly, makes you want to burn down all galleries with lit copies of the Daily Mail.

Luckily for my composure I am not alone in this frustration - it even has an official (NB not actually official) name: "Art Bollocks", relating to the multiply adjectivised, but also unnecessarily complicated, sentences, yet paragraphs, which play with the ideas around the subject which generate buzzwords and at the same time, though differently, say nothing useful at all. There's even an Arty Bollocks Generator for people who don't have time to write their own!

One example was a GIANT PENGUIN, which I liked a lot until I read the description. "Drawing on classical Hollywood tropes, (the artist) exposes the limits of our preconceptions. Both funny and destablizing, this work depicts the artist as a penguin, six feet and seven inches tall." We had a good look around the sculpture but it was JUST A PENGUIN, with no hint of it being the artist, and anyway, WHAT Hollywood tropes? If it's just the fact that there have been penguins in films, then doesn't that apply to ALL HUMAN ENDEAVOUR?

Elsewhere everything was "playing" with something and simultaneously exposing something else, while a reconstruction of some machinery was "confronting the precarity of technological desire, the progress of industry and automation, is set against biological evolution." Spoilers: It wasn't and it didn't.

The worst of all this is that it makes ME feel like a PHILISTINE complaining about PRETENTIOUSNESS in ART when, actually, honestly, I just want a bit of CLARITY. These artists clearly have THORTS and IDEAS and spend AGES manifesting them, so why ruin it by annoying the HECK out of CONNOISSEURS like what we are eh?

In summary then: not as good as last year but we had a lovely time and some of it WAS dead good - definitely worth a visit, just don't read the descriptions!!

posted 7/8/2018 by MJ Hibbett

< previous next >


This is also my bugbear (I've made a sculpture of it. It's a combination of a bug. And a bear.)
posted 4/9/2018 by

Your Comment:
Your Name:
SPAMBOT FILTER: an animal that says 'oink' (3)

(e.g. for an animal that says 'cluck' type 'hen')

Twitter /  Bandcamp /  Facebook /  YouTube
Click here to visit the Artists Against Success website An Artists Against Success Presentation