Monday, November 15, 2010

Jackson's Bollocks?

Genius, wallpaper or a product of the cold war? You decide.


"What the fuck's that?" asked Lee, shuffling into the lounge room. "And what's it doing on my fucking sofa?"

"No idea," said Jackson, squinting at the painting and rotating his head 90 degrees anti-clockwise. "Could be a forest I suppose."

"Doesn't look like a fucking forest to me," said Lee, taking a seat opposite the painting. "Looks like a series of poorly constructed telegraph poles while a fire burns out of control."

"Well that's something," said Jackson as he stood up and turned the picture upside down. "Now whatddya reckon? Better or worse?"

"No fucking different. Same that way, same the other way. What the fuck were you doing last night?"

"I'd had a few drinks."

"No shit!"

"And I just started flicking paint at a canvas."

"Hilarious."

"Well it looked a lot better when I was drunk."

"Give us a fucken drink and I'll be the judge of that."

*

It seems the embedding has been disabled for this video but it's worth watching on youtube (once you click on the video a link will appear). Ripper song, boring video that looks like a Windows Media Player auto background.

55 comments:

Alex said...

I could rant endlessly about what I think of the art world. But I've been ranting quite a bit lately, so I'll let somebody else have a turn. Suffice to say, I'm not a fan of Pollock's work.

Oh, and...
Music: Very good
Vocals: Not so much

Kettle said...

I don't know, I like The Poles but I was born in Canberra so, you know, *wanker*.

wari lasi said...

I'm just not a fan of abstract work. I don't mind some of Picasso's weirder stuff, but a kid could have painted this.

I know that's been said before but ...

squib said...

Have you seen that doco, 'Who the Fuck is Jackson Pollock?' Hilarious

And read Vonnegut's 'Bluebeard'? Everytime I see Pollock's name I think of poor Rabo Karabekian and the Sateen Dura-Luxe he painted with. It's my favourite Vonnegut

I like modern art but Pollock leaves me cold

patchouligirl said...

I could live with this on the wall at home, it reminds me of a forest in Autumn. I like how you can decide for yourself what a piece of modern art is about. I explained this to my 6 yr old neighbour recently when we visited the Art Gallery. She got it straightaway and was looking at the textures and shapes and colours in paintings and telling me what she thought they represented.

wari lasi said...

I like how you can decide for yourself what a piece of modern art is about.

But doesn't that effectively make it meaningless?

I'll punch (virtually of course) the first person who says, "No Wari, the fact that it is left open to individual interpretation actually gives it infinite meaning."

Emma brings better stuff home from school.

Pepsi said...

Pollack - one of the great art swindlers of the modern age.

Alex said...

Pollack - one of the great art swindlers of the modern age.

I'm very, very sorry. I said I wouldn't but I can't help myself. The following is a long-winded, bile-filled tirade against the arts. Reader discretion is advised.

<RANT>

1) The Artist Vs The Audience

The main gripe I have isn't with people liking the sort of stuff Pollock painted. Hell, one of the great things about art is that people can make and enjoy whatever they please. No, it's the way people seem to think that if they like something (or worse, if somebody who "knows art" likes something), that it's a sign of some sort of awesome skill, creative insight or other form of genius on the part of the artist. It isn't. If you want those things, go look at some good commercial art. Sure, the subject matter in often cheesy and predictable and it's usually designed for mass production; but oftentimes the work itself shows off a higher degree of mastery over the medium than 75% of what hangs in galleries. And yes, many of those gallery painters may be highly skilled too; but the point is that if that isn't reflected in the work, then it doesn't matter. It's like, if a highly accomplished musician sat down and recorded themselves hitting random keys on a piano. You might really, really like the result, and there's no reason why you shouldn't - maybe it touches you in a way you've never been touched before and moves you deep down inside - but that part comes from you, the audience, and it doesn't make the art (or music) an exceptional piece of craftsmanship.

2) The Importance Of Art

Art can do a lot of good things for people, both the creation and consumption of it. But it's not like science, where you have a few highly skilled professionals working at an elite level to come up with stuff that will improve people's lives in measurable, tangible ways. Art is a form of creative expression that's open to everybody and the painting at the top of this page has no more intrinsic value than any six-year-old's finger painting. Of course, some works have greater monetary value than others, but that's entirely different. This is why it gives me the shits when I hear people talking about the importance of specific artists and the primary reason why I'm against governments giving money to individual artists/groups/projects without the expectation of that money being repaid.

3) Mandatory Resale Royalties

Fuck off, you cunts! If you want to turn something you've created into a perpetual money spinner, then don't fucking sell it in the first place. Lease it, like everybody else in every other field does. And if nobody is interested in leasing your work, tough shit!

</RANT>

Okay. I'll be quiet now.

Lewd Bob said...

Oh that's priceless. Nice work Alex. I agree with much of what you said but I think arts grants should be boosted, particularly if you look at how much money is pumped into sport in this country (e.g. Commonwealth games opening ceremony, the AIS, the Grand Prix, bringing Tiger Woods to Melbourne etc).

wari lasi said...

Ha ha. What Bob said.

Alex said...

Bob, I don't agree with a lot of sporting expenditure, either.

Mr E Discharge said...

I too wholeheartedly agree with your views also, Alex.

I spent 15 years working in collaboration with various artists and choreographers around the world, designing one off electronic systems to "realise their vision". When it came to meaningless, many new benchmarks were reached, usually to much critical acclaim, invariably funded by governments or patrons with more money than sense.

In general your average artist is a totally self obcessed tosser. The few who achieve international fame more so. They reach a plateau where every thing they create MUST be art, purely by virtue of them having created it. Meaning, context, relevance optional.

Royalties:
One of my clients, John Cage, composed a piece called "4;31 " with consisted of four and half minutes of total silence. Its premier performance in New York (with a full Orchestra) got rave reviews. Many years later an English musician recorded a track called "A Minutes Silence", a very apt title.

Johns Lawyers sued for Breach of Copyright, claiming royalties. The matter was settled out of court and a six figure sum paid to Johns Trust. Mike Batt was forced to re-release the album crediting the track to "Cage/Batt". Go figure.

Tossers!

wari lasi said...

Are you fair dinkum Mr E? Someone successfully claimed copyright ownership of silence?

Now I've heard everything.

Tossers! is on the money

Alex said...

I am disgusted to hear that Mr E, but sadly, not that surprised. I've felt my skin crawl over copyright/patent/trademark cases before.

And one thing that really bugs me about the tossers you describe is the tendency they have to look down their noses at the folks working in the commercial sector who have the good sense to approach their job like true craftsmen. In this regard, I think the pretentiousness of the artist in exceeded only by that of the art critic.

Mr E Discharge said...

I fairness to Johns memory, and having listened to both recordings, there isn't a judge on Earth who wouldn't heve ruled in his favour, the middle eight bridge in Batts piece was identical.

Although personally I prefer the orchestral version.

Alex said...

Ha.

Mr E Discharge said...

I think the pretentiousness of the artist in exceeded only by that of the art critic.

Two sides of the same coin. Both stress the importance of their work. It's all about "THE WORK". No, it's about the universe being viewed through your massive ego. Critics in particular. They produce nothing but hot air, at least the artist produces something vaguely tangible.

Illustration:
Each year the Austrian National Broadcaster (ORF) stage an Arts festival. One year they featured Australian Artists and bunch of us were invited to attend and present work.

We each got our air fares, accommodation and an appearance fee of $15000.

Chris, an Australian Spoken Word Artist, accepted the invitation and asked ORF to send people out to record peoples favorite DOG STORIES. Which they did.

On arrival in Linz, the people from ORF told Chris that they had set aside a production studio for his use. When asked what he was going to do with the recordings to turn them into "ART". "Nothing" he replied.

The evening the unsuspecting populace of Austria sat glued to their radios listening to bunch of dog stories told by a bunch of other Austrians as "ART". Australian ART at that.

The critics raved. The Hungarian National Broadcaster were so impressed that they PAID Chris to come to Budapest and do an encore performance.

During an radio interview in Budapest, Chris dismissed James Joyce as "a mere tenor" without being challenged.

Is it just me, or is the arts world completely fucked up?

Alex said...

The question is, Mr E, how do you convince people who are terrified of being labelled ignorant, uncultured, small-minded and art-illiterate; that the Emperor is actually stark bollocky naked.

Kettle said...

This is a ten-hour debate for me at the Court House pub in Newtown so until one of you comes to Sydney all I can add is:

The problem with art is anyone with a major self-loving ego. If you think you're good, you suck and you're ruining it for everyone else.

Kettle said...

PS:

there isn't a judge on Earth who wouldn't heve ruled in his favour

Mr E, you're my new favourite bloggy commenter. Ha!

Lewd Bob said...

"Cage/Batt"

In an amazing coincidence, this same story was discussed on tonight's episode of QI.

Mr E, you are setting the agenda.

Kettle said...

Mr E you are cooler than Stephen Fry.

Mr E Discharge said...

Alex, That would be asking for too much.

We're talking about a world apart. For my part, it's like the old saying
"nobody should see how laws or sausages are made". So too of art.

Forget about the artist. The artist is irrelevant by his/her own definition. It's about the work after all.

When you experience a piece of art that touches your heart or soul, say "Thank you" and then get on with what ever you were doing.

Beyond that there's nothing to be done.

Mr E Discharge said...

Thank you Bob, Thank you Kettle.

I'm here all week, be sure to try the Buffet. All you can can eat and only $4.00!

Kettle said...

Four bucks? You're a freakin' bargain Mr E.

When you experience a piece of art that touches your heart or soul, say "Thank you" and then get on with what ever you were doing.

Wisest thing I've ever read about art criticism/appreciation.

eat my shorts said...

I could have a rant about modern art. Yesterday I saw those sunflower seeds at the Tate.

Fucking ridiculous.

Perhaps I could get behind it a little bit (but I still wouldn't call it "art") if you could still walk on them and play with them and shit, but there's just a bunch of sunflower seeds behind a barrier and people looking at them. It's such wankery.

patchouligirl said...

But doesn't that effectively make it meaningless?

I'm a simple soul, it doesn't have to mean anything, it just has to look pretty or remind me of something that makes me happy. Many 'statement' pieces might be very clever but I'd soon get sick of them if they were hanging on my lounge room wall.

Unfortunately, if Art wasn't propped up by Governments and assorted wankers, and was simply a matter of the general public buying what they liked we'd probably be left with a lot of Ken Done t-shirts and fake Buddha statues.

wari lasi said...

Are you suggesting the average person has shitty taste Patch?

And as the honourary Buddhist advocate here, I have to ask whether one can get a "real" Buddha statue?

patchouligirl said...

Sorry, I should have said 'painted paper mache' or 'mass produced' rather than 'fake'.

patchouligirl said...

And . . . yes.

wari lasi said...

Nice budgie. Does he speak?

Alex said...

But even a Buddha statue could be exquisite, right? I mean, in theory. Mass production shouldn't detract from whatever ability obviously went into crafting the original. That's my opinion, at any rate. Hell, I've even seen bongs that I thought were magnificent.

wari lasi said...

A religious icon is a tricky thing as its value is normally more intrinsic rather than aesthetic or monetary. Hence my query as to it being "fake" or "real". I can see Patch's point though. Leaving aside the theological implications, massed produced shit is, well, mass produced shit.

Drug paraphernalia is another category altogether ...

Alex said...

As a point of clarification though, Wari: are you saying that mass production makes something shit by default?

And to add to an earlier point: If governments are going to spend money on arts and sport, I'd like to see it go to projects that encourage and facilitate the general public to become participants rather than just spectators.

squib said...

I don't think the government spends enough on arts. Writers get paid fuck all and they deserve a place to showcase their work

Poetry would die without funding because most people don't read poems. They watch 50 kinds of Foxtel crap. Good for them - bread and circuses and all that - but you can't expect the arts to be survival of the commercially fittest

patchouligirl said...

It worked throughout the rest of history though, didn't it? All art was commissioned by the wealthy or the church.

squib said...

Yes, well that's what I'm saying. Governement funding has mostly replaced church and royal patronage

wari lasi said...

I don't know Squib. I'm a firm believer that when a government gets involved in almost anything they fuck it up. The people who are the best at chasing (and getting) government funding are the toadies and normally undeserving. This is what causes the cynicism in the general community about it.

It worked better before.

But hey. I like your poems very much. If I was rich I'd pay you to write them but I bet you don't qualify for government funding and/or you aren't prepared to do what it takes to get it.

squib said...

It worked better before. People always say that but it's not usually true. The sycophants got most the money back then too. Anyway, most of the artists, writers, and musos I know are humble types who do a lot of work for free so I think they should get any crumbs that fall from the table, and more

And hey, thanks (I don't recall sending any? I'm getting a bit senile). That's nice. I don't often hear that

Alex said...

Squib, I don't believe for a second that poetry, literature, painting, photography, film, theatre, sculpture, etc, etc, would disappear if government funding did. People who love doing those things would do them in their spare time, simply because they love them. Besides which, some of us can only sit on our arses for so long before saying, "bugger this, I'm going to go make something".

As for collaboration, community, organisation, distribution and even production to some extent; home computing and the internet have really lowered the bar in recent years. Look at the number of video/photo/image/music sharing sites around (there's ones for writing too, if you look). You might say that all of that stuff is utter rubbish, but I disagree. I think a very tiny percentage of it is, if not brilliant, at least quite good - and getting better all the time*. And besides, that isn't really the point. The point is the sheer number of people interested and engaged. Hardly a death knell, I should think.

*For those interested in low-brow Finnish sci-fi parody movies, I heartily recommend checking out the Star Wreck series of films (or at least the last one). Which were all made (as far as I know) by amateurs working from home and funded by donations from fans over the internet. The first five (and a half) range from incredibly shitty pixel-art animation to fairly shitty first-year-film-student type stuff. The sixth is a pretty decent feature film (well, better than Piranha 3D, four and a half minutes of silence or $15000 worth of Austrian dog stories, at any rate).

Higher quality downloads available here

wari lasi said...

I don't recall sending any?

Didn't you have a web site at one stage (can't find it now)? "Poet Squib" rings a bell.

Or am I dreaming?

Mr E Discharge said...

low-brow Finnish sci-fi parody movies

This is the interesting thing about "life".

Here I am, at the ripe old age of 55, been around the block, done some shit, met some amazing people and generally had a fine time.

In the course of all this, I've formed opinions. I'd like to think that the opinions I've formed are for the most part based in fact and arrived at after due consideration. You reach a point where you believe that you have an opinion on the things that matter, and have sufficient facts at your disposal to defend your position.

Born and raised in the Western suburbs of Melbourne, I am familiar with the term "low brow". No problems there.

I've spent enough time in Helsinki to trust my my opinion on all things "Finnish". Again, no problems.

My opinion on "Sci-Fi" and "Parody" are both well formed, soundly based and positive.

Movies? Complete no brainer. No problem there either.

Taken individually, all concepts for which I have, in my mind at least, an opinion.

Grouped together, different ball game.

I do not believe that it is possible to have an opinion on, much less an interest in "low-brow Finnish sci-fi parody movies", if indeed there is such a thing.

If your intention was to throw me into existential turmoil, WELL DONE!

Alex said...

Mr E, their next film, Iron Sky (due in about a year), wil be a low-brow Finnish sci-fi parody movie WITH NAZIS!

squib said...

Wari, those poems were shite but thanks

Alex, I think it's great that the internet has allowed people to become participants instead of spectators but the sheer number of participants means that, in terms of poetry, you still need to sort the wheat from the chaff and to do that in any kind of professional way, you still need money. That's why, for example 'Cordite' is assisted by the Australia Council for the Arts

So whether it's a print journal or an online one, you really do need some kind of selection and editing process. I see a lot of performance poetry that is really, really dismal. The best poems I hear (for the most part) are by published poets because they have taken the time to learn and master their craft. They have taken the time to actually read poetry other than their own. They love words and you can pick that straight away

wari lasi said...

Wari, those poems were shite but thanks

Does that mean you feel you've matured since then? I liked them at the time.

Thanks for the email!

squib said...

I've certainly aged since then. I talk about shoe orthotics a lot more than I did then

Kettle said...

Squib your two recently published 'science' poems were awesome. I haven't, though, had the pleasure of reading your orthotics poems? And do you have any poems that talk about ear trumpets? I've got a thing for them at the moment.

Puss In Boots said...

Is that courtesy of the Charlie Chaplin time traveller, Kettle?

Kettle said...

That's hilarious, Puss. If only we had ear trumpets (and it wasn't a silent film) we could hear whether he/she is saying "Seriously shit man, I've travelled back in time! I'm in a Chaplin film. Freakin' A!"

wari lasi said...

Come on Kettle, did you have to Google "tardigrade"?

And then it all made sense.

She's good our Squib, very good.

Kettle said...

Wari I'd like to say no, but in fact I did.

Tardigrades. Who thinks to write about tardigrades?

Our Squib, that's who.

Alex said...

I see your point, Squib. But I'd still rather leave things to communities of enthusiasts to organise as professionally or unprofessionally as their own passion and resources allow.

Squib your two recently published 'science' poems were awesome.

I loved the one on tardigrades. Have you ever thought about doing anything stomatopod related?

And Kettle, parasols and ear trumpets? It's going to be an interesting Chrissy at your house, methinks.

Kettle said...

Not just an interesting Christmas, Alex, but a flipping awesome one.

Forget the fruit mince pies: ear trumpets all 'round I say!

And where's Ramon, by the way? It's like he hurt his back, got a prescription for something wickedly good then promptly disappeared.

wari lasi said...

It's a sad thing when Friday passes without a PSF.

At least Squib pointed me and Kettle (Kettle and I?)at some of her work, or it would have been a cultureless weekend...

Robert Singletary said...

http://allartallthetime.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=thirtythree&action=display&thread=86&page=1
This link takes you to:
My thread titled:
GREAT OIL PAINTINGS__various artists.
( located within the 'Contemporary Oil Paintings' board at:__AllArtAllTheTime.Proboards.com ).

Even though Pablo Picasso is my favorite artist...Jackson Pollock is high on my list of 'favorites' !
" BLUE POLES " 1952 enamel, and aluminum paint with glass on canvas by Jackson Pollock is one awesome artwork ! I hope to visit the National Gallery of Australia
_Canberra, Australia to view the original painting ( one day in the future ).

_________________________________
Signed: Robert Singletary__Monday January 2, 2012__8:30 P.M.
(eastern standard time) USA