Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Drivel alert

More specifically, bad PR alert:

In [name of painting exhibit], the seeming disparate but not wholly unrelated elements are combined resulting in euphemistic pokes at metaphors that usually bespeak of the time-tested sentiments on mortality, faith and human existence. In one painting titled _____________, where a pile of donuts is intruded by a blue paint brush whose bristles are dipped in scarlet paint, an obvious innuendo may be forthcoming in such juxtaposition, but the titling makes such an association smirkily broken down and takes the very coded invented word as a ludicrous masking to someone who isn't in on the joke.

1. This is an actual press release. We get hemorrhoid-inducing twaddle like this everyday, peddling everything from flip-flops to face creams to credit cards to clothes to, that's it, art exhibits. Anyone who tells me my job helping edit the lifestyle section of the country's no. 1 paper must be a lark gets a cackling laugh; the daily Babel we get on our mail (and have to rework--because the same PR gets sent to the other papers, get it?) can make you rend your garments, don sack cloth and head-butt the wall.

2. Any artwork that requires explanation is, in my opinion, a failed artwork. In particular, much of today's abstract art leans so heavily on convoluted curatorial notes that you end up concluding... a) the artist is so insecure about his work that he has to explain, justify, itemize what it all means; b) the curator/agent who writes the notes/press releases (they're often one and the same, the latter merely lifted from the former) is a frustrated creative writing guy--with apologies to real creative writing guys. Maybe the gibberish is meant to mirror the artwork?

3. Same with movies. Young director whose indie movie I didn't like sidles up to me and says, sotto voce, “Someday I hope to sit down with you so I can explain my film.” Huh? I saw the movie twice, just to try to get it. What happened to “Show, don't tell”?

4. Discuss: “Art doesn't have to be about anything to be good. In fact, the easier it is to say what a work is about, the less interesting that work becomes.” -- Jonathan Jones, “The best art is meaningless”


beektur said...

ouch! maybe the curatorial note is also a work of modern art, it needs interpretation.

Oliver Oliveros said...

deconstruction needed. hehehe =)

rudeboy said...

I live right next to a gallery and often get invited to openings. More often than not, the pretentious expository balderdash beneath the pieces just make me reach for more free wine.

I may not know art, but I know artifice.

Podi Alejandro said...

Re: No. 4. I think it's true. Art shouldn't stop with just one meaning. It should constantly move each person who sees it; its meaning evolving from one pair of eyes to another.

The write up for the exhibit sounded like someone was in a hurry to beat a deadline, threw words up in the air, and published whatever landed conveniently on screen. Too bad for the exhibit, if it really deserves more.

Jake said...

requote: Re: No. 4. I think it's true. Art shouldn't stop with just one meaning. It should constantly move each person who sees it; its meaning evolving from one pair of eyes to another.

you are exactly right bro.. :)

Jasper said...

an obvious innuendo may be forthcoming in such juxtaposition

-- huwow.

waltzang said...

this is the best line:

"I may not know art, but I know artifice."

i love it!

Freestyler said...

so, teka, teka--therefore the piece diminishes its artistic value because of the curatorial notes that went with it?

"any artwork that requires explanation is a failed artwork." Tama ba talaga ito? Do you also mean art works that DEFY explanation? Hmmm.

for me, identifying what is "art" can only ultimately be by consensus. A sincere but shared collective feeling of pleasure that any community holds significant as when they regard the piece. and I don't mean a consensus by its exhibitors and curators alone but by respected art critics (like you, gibbs, tsaring), the artists' colleagues, and, of course, the public.

I tend to agree with the lines you quoted from Jonathan Jones. The caveat, I guess, is that the work may be a dazzling, interesting, intriguing piece of shallowness and fluff-- parang full of sound and fury-signifying nothing ekek-- but can still extract a pleasure that can only be called art.

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