Saturday, 19 February 2011


Checked some of my favourite culture blogs this morning. Then, in the resigned mood of visiting a rubbish charity shop in the nothing-to-lose hope of finding a rare book, I checked te Graun. The creator of 'knob brick' is apparently like William Blake.


What this emphasises is the ambivalence about economic and media liberalism.

Liberalism is in some ways seen as synonymous with the free market, and the free market with a kind of economic Darwinism.

In which case why is fat, greasy tit Jonathan Jones employed to write such utter rubbish, whilst so many interesting culture blogs are amateur works?

You could say that Jones is superb at writing for a certain group: those who are incapable of appreciating genius or skill or beauty but who can discern ambivalence in utter crap painting. He just helps give them the confidence they need that the 'knob brick' Michaelangelo is really a genius not a talentless poser who milks gullible bourgeois idiots.

And the peripheral audience who loathe (rather than despise) Emin and will re-read this article, bumping up the hits.

Yet, I do wonder if this is really economical on the longterm? Personally, I wouldn't buy any newspaper. I think they're all crap and even if they occassionally have some excellent foreign correspondence, their habit of subsidising opinionated oafs like Jonathan Jones really deters me from pumping money into the system.

I'm not someone who likes to rail against 'modern art'. From a modern perspective the mass media allows us all to see the entire history of Millennia as a snapshot.

Yet the 20th Century saw a revolution in art. The 21st Century's painting does seem chained to the past, and to me tedious abstract art is anything but 'modern' but rather a plodding homage to a movement that was started at least 70 years ago. But then, I think that the camera (the film camera especially) has taken over from the canvas partially because it is a more democratic system and our increasingly sophisticated mass media can give us information on anything from Spaghetti Westerns to Soviet era surrealism, whilst art is dominated by ostentatiously smoking drinking leathery wannabe tweenagers.

And, by today's standards, it is their very desire to shock both in content and in form that is so bourgeois and conformist.


  1. Great post. I tend to be a follower of the "it is good art if it looks really hard to do" school, which is a nice way of saying that I don't get a lot of modern art. That being said, my favorite artistic school is Mannerism, and some art historians consider Mannerism a kind of proto-abstract school because of its tendency to distort reality.

    You are right, though, about how boring much of culture is today. I find this to be true for both highbrow and popular culture. For example, a lot of ink seems to get spilled over Lady Gaga and her oddness, but her whole gimmick seems very calculated to me, even though I guess I am supposed to be shocked and appalled by her dressing up like a condom.

  2. @John Thank you for your comment. I agree about Lady gaga. Get the impression that people think 'other people' find this stuff offensive. Oddly enough I think Justin Beiber outdid her on controversy by expressing pro-life views.

    A lot of interesting mannerist paintings; I like pretty weird stuff, especially Goya and Munch.