Andrew’s Midsummer Blog 2017

 In Andrew's Blog

If you’ve read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand you will know who I’m talking about when I say Ellsworth Toohey. For those of you who haven’t read the book, Toohey is a character whose prime motivation is control of the populous by persuading them that mediocrity is good. Promote the mediocre and tell everyone that it’s important. Then they will believe that pop music, graffiti, screams of “fuck you” at Tate Modern, for example, is great art. The horror of it is that this isn’t Ayn Rand’s novel; it is the reality of now in London: supposedly the art capital of the world.

This is the way someone is controlling what is acceptable and important and what is not. If you take a second-rater and promote him/her as the best thing since sliced bread, while at the same time buying large quantities of his/her output, you will have control of the artist, the press, and the broadcast media. From there the sky is the limit. You might even persuade the Nobel committee to give them a Prize. Is that too ludicrous to contemplate?

Unfortunately the mediocrity of the curators has reduced the Giacometti exhibition at Tate Modern to second rate. Here are the works of one of the most important 20th Century sculptor/painters turned into something that would be viewed as ordinary in a supermarket or department store. Ordinary is great!

The viewing experience is laughable. Written explanations on a distant wall, about exquisite tiny sculptures that are barely visible across the room. Barely visible because they are ranked in files like the Chinese ceramic warriors. Wall colours that suck the life from Giacometti’s paintings.

Here is an example of Ellsworth Toohey at work: It’s akin to taking a Beethoven quartet and turning it into elevator muzak, charging the public for riding the elevator and then telling them that they’ve had a life changing experience.

The exhibition continues until 10th September at Tate Modern.

I’m including this image of one of my recent paintings because it reminds me of Giacometti. I wish I knew why. Perhaps you’ll tell me.

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  • anthony

    Sadly the London infection has spread far and wide. Following a visit to MONA in Tasmania the visitor is presented with a truly astonishing and beautiful piece of modern architecture that is diminished and damaged by the garbage on the walls. Art bruit or (in other words) poorly executed schlock shock hangs next to walls of plaster cast vaginas and other really ugly bits and pieces of nothing exceptional. A working virtual gastro intestinal tract that actually shits once a day describes the overall experience wonderfully. Apparently my reaction was what the curator wanted…. disappointment?.. How sad.

  • William Blyth

    Hi Andrew

    I always enjoy your musings but regret that they are not in person like they used to be. I still remember how you blew me away when you offered the TENNIS picture you our store window. I was flabbergasted that you could/would offer such an amazing painting without any guarantees from us, of insurance or suchlike. It was surreal!

    I do miss the shop mainly because of all our wonderful customers and the not so wonderful ones also, but I always looked forward to seeing you. Hopefully you can still enjoy a glass of wine with a sliver of cheese

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to your next posting


    William Blyth

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