It all started a while ago when fed up with watching rerun after rerun of the X Files, I looked around for something a little more cerebrally challenging. Then I spotted it, a series called Big Art. Now ever since Alwyn went off the air, apart from the occasional appearance by Rolf, decent art programs are about as common as hen’s teeth.
The program opened with the presenter having his Gee Wiz car remodelled by a famous, world renowned artist/sculptor (never heard of him). By some piece of convoluted logic the presenter then deduced that his car was now a work of art. I wonder if the sculptor had cooked him breakfast, he would have eaten it or framed it! Now I know many people have a strange view as to what constitutes a work of art. My understanding is that a work of art is something that has no practical purpose other than to elicit an emotional response from the viewer, a bit like a member of parliament... so I suppose wind turbines would also fall into this category and hence why said MP's allow them to be built.
Anyway, Like Ronnie Corbett in his comfy chair, I digress, The idea of the aptly named Big Art show was to follow a community in its efforts to erect a large carbuncle on the edge of their conurbation, something that many a Betty Page wannabe had tried and failed to do.. The residents were interviewed and one said how nice it would be to have a large monument somewhere locally to save keep travelling tup'north for artistic enlightenment..(cut to Angel of the North). Monument? I thought that was something that was a target for scrap thieves. We are now introduced by the program makers to a potential contributing artist. He/she (I'm not sure which) is mentioned and quoted as being someone who’s art was so radical he/she wasn't awarded a degree (must remember that excuse…I wonder if he/she was doing representational stuff!).
The residents were then kindly whisked off to Germany to view a depressing piece of ‘big art’. It wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Stanley Kubrick oddessy with monkeys throwing bones at it. Some local monkeys had tried to brighten it up by spraying their ‘tags’ all over the base which had improved it somewhat. By now I was bored and switched back to the X-Files…
I’m not sure about big art, I like Anthony Gormley’s work, though I think Crosby beach was a better place without his contribution. I just worry that communities and councils are jumping on a giant Angel of the North bandwagon and despoiling our beautiful countryside with these arrogant erections. Not all art produced by an artist is good, even if they do have a well known name. If you want to sell a larger piece of work to hang over the mantelpiece instead of a small one in the toilet, the choice of subject and the content of the painting has to be carefully considered. I just wonder if some of the big art accepted by communities is toilet rather than mantelpiece work. And don’t get me started on safety, what with the problems of inflatable versions blowing away, killing people and rusting spiky things giving a Damoclesian kill threat to passers by.
So I say let’s not put up another big white horse or chalk maiden in the countryside and just enjoy nature’s natural beauty.