June 04, 2004
The Dog Woman and her Puppy Babies are not The Painted Word

Shock art, yes, but rather entertaining:


This was hit number one when I googled for "art" images twenty minutes ago.

The picture appears at the top of a review of a book called What's Wrong With Contemporary Art?.

So far as I can judge by only reading this review, Peter Timms' book has been done a long time ago and done far better, by Tom Wolfe, in the form of The Painted Word, at a time when what it says was actually pretty much true. But things have moved on since the tendencies which Wolfe reported on so accurately and which Timms says are still in play.

Modern Art is no longer a bad university lecture, with mysteriously expensive illustrations slapped onto the front of the enterprise. It has now morphed into something more like a self-important and rather (but not always) humour-lacking branch of the circus business, with things which are quite entertaining (like the Dog Woman and her brood of Human Puppies above) being either arbitrarily dismissed to car boot sale land, or alternatively lauded to the skies with absurdly earnest and excessive praise.

I wouldn't have the Dog Woman and Her Puppy Babies in my living room if you paid me, a lot, any more than I would want to share my life with a circus clown. But seeing it once, in a picture, was … fun.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 11:49 PM
Category: Modern artSculpture