December 31, 2003
Michael Jennings at Tate Modern

Email from Michael Jennings:

I have some thoughts on Tate Modern on my blog that you might be interested in.

Indeed.

Meanwhile, I think this is a really fun photo:

tate4.jpg

Once again, a constant theme here, light games by pointing the camera (or the painter) at the big light source, with distant objects having light in front of them – in the form, I'm guessing, of illuminated gas or dust particles – and nearer objects less so.

The big sun is part of the Weather Project, by somebody or other who is good at talking his way into Tate Modern.

Thinking about it some more, I think what we may be witnessing here is the divergence along two separate paths of, on the one hand, "art" (i.e. paintings, sculptures, stupid objects), and on the other hand the process of attracting people to, and entertaining people in, what are still called "art" galleries.

This is a trend I thoroughly approve of, because on the whole I think that "art" these days is too big for its boots, and depends far more than it realises on the fact that people simply like going to art galleries, regardless of what's in them, simply because they are nice places where you can hear what any person you go with is saying and have a nice cup of coffee and a bun and buy an amusing biro. Discos without the bloody disco music, you might say, and with less disastrous drugs.

If that's right, and it is, it follows that there is no particular reason for "art" galleries to contain only things which Tate Czar Nicholas Serota has decided are art. Why not veteran cars, tea trolleys, old games machines, underwear, hand held weapons through the ages, CD sleeves, potato crisp packets, batteries, food magazine illustrations, shoes, stills from the movies, Christmas cards, ancient photos taken by regular people rather than just by famous photographers, letters from the front, videos of buildings being demolished, etc. etc. etc. etc.???? Who needs art, and who cares whether the stuff in the gallery is art or not?

It would be a nice irony if a temple supposedly devoted to the worship of Modern Art actually became a force for dethroning the stuff.

Whatever. Happy New Year everybody.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 03:16 PM
Category: Modern art