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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Wednesday October 22 2008

As a general rule I am not a fan of the twentieth century A-Chimpanzee-Could-Do-That style of abstract art.  If, approximately speaking, a chimpanzee could indeed do it, where’s the art?  Also, the randomness of such paintings is, I believe, a deliberate attempt to undermine a central assumption of the Bourgeois Way of Life, to which I enthusiastically subscribe, which says: We Can Make Sense Of The World.  We can understand it, tell stories about it with beginnings, middles and ends, represent it accurately and illuminatingly.  Erecting A-C-C-D-T squiggle and splodge pictures says: Oh no you can’t.

There’s more to Modern Art than this (see this posting and my comments on this one), but I definitely think that deliberate senselessness - anti-sensibleness - is a part of the story.

But when what you see is actually the consequence of someone doing something sensible, and it merely happens to look like A-C-C-D-T Art, that’s different.  That can be rather fun.

Consider this, vaguely Pollockian effort:

image

Click to get the real story there.  It’s really an advertising spot on the Tube where they’ve been tearing off the old posters, and have yet to scrape off the last of it, or whatever they do next.

Or this soothingly Rothkotic daub, snapped in the evening sunshine by me today:

image

That’s a square of paint of the sort they replace graffiti with in my neighbourhood.

Or these window patterns:

image

That was taken on Tuesday night, which was totally cloudless.  Hence the bright blue on the slightly open window, which is thus looking up to the sky.  The thing is, “glass” has changed a lot lately.  It used to be completely flat.  Not any more.  Now it is stronger, but wobbly and curvy.  It bends.  And the reflections go all over the place.  My camera is not very good at doing pictures like this, but you get the idea.

But my question is: If it were not for A-C-C-D-T Art, would I enjoy these things that merely look like A-C-C-D-T Art, but are actually sensible, so much?  I believe not.  I believe that these mere consequences of sanity, done by people who get zero prestige in the wider world for their efforts, and quite rightly because they weren’t even trying and it wasn’t at all hard (there was very little Art involved), are a standing reproach to the insanity of doing, and worse, worshipping things that look like this, done deliberately, just for the sake of how they look, with no sensible other purpose in mind.

Or, does A-C-C-D-T Art justify itself, by causing us to enjoy what would otherwise not be that amusing?

I also like this:

image

It’s just a chipboard slab protecting some work they were doing on Westminster Bridge.  I came across it while getting the other pictures above ready for this posting, and its relevance is, I think, pretty obvious.  And pretty too, I think.