Modern Art

Discussing art and media trends and organisations generally

Re: Modern Art

Postby Mike » 27 Dec 2013, 09:52

I had an experience today at an art gallery that was both mortifying and amusing, and probably worth sharing here.

My work is finished for the year but my wife is still chained to the wheel, so I've been looking after our daughter for the last couple of days. Trying to think of an excursion that would fill up the day pleasurably and usefully today, I decided to take her to the Art Gallery of NSW, in the centre of Sydney.

It's a very well-maintained gallery and some of the work on display is excellent, but the incident in question happened in the Contemporary Art section, which we visited near the end. In one of the rooms, there was the usual slightly kitschy stuff on the walls, and in the centre of the room, what looked like a slightly avant-garde chair and shelf, which I foolishly assumed was simply a seating area in keeping with the rest of the decor. There was no explanatory placard anywhere near it (as there was next to every other exhibit), so when my daughter went to sit on the seat I was slightly apprehensive but did nothing. On the shelf, there were a couple of stray bits of plasticene in no particular pattern, which she then started to fiddle with. At this point one of the gallery guards came up and said in a frightened voice "Oh no, don't..." gesturing for my daughter to move away, and I quickly took her away, realising my mistake and wanting the earth to swallow me up!

This poor guard (who was very nice about it, nicer than I would probably have been if I'd been in her shoes) then swore under her breath several times, sounding absolutely petrified, and put the plasticene back in place as if it were the Mona Lisa. I apologised several times, saying I hoped I hadn't gotten her into any trouble (to which she replied "I'm not sure yet!"), and even offering my phone/email details so that her superiors could confirm that she wasn't at fault, which she graciously declined to take. My poor daughter was a bit upset by the whole thing, since she ended up being told off a bit by both me and the guard (although the fault was really mine), but she got over it fairly quickly.

When the shock had died down, though, I had a bit of a laugh over it. This "exhibit" featured a curved chair, a mirror hanging against it for some reason, and this shelf was made in a way which reminded me of my efforts in Woodwork at school, a subject I had zero aptitude for. And the plasticene?!? I just thought and thought, and couldn't conceive of a reason why it was there.
Mike
 
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Location: Australia

Re: Modern Art

Postby Caleb » 27 Dec 2013, 11:56

That is fantastic.
Caleb
 
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Joined: 20 Oct 2011, 04:44

Re: Modern Art

Postby Kevin R » 27 Dec 2013, 22:41

Mike wrote:I had an experience today at an art gallery that was both mortifying and amusing, and probably worth sharing here.

My work is finished for the year but my wife is still chained to the wheel, so I've been looking after our daughter for the last couple of days. Trying to think of an excursion that would fill up the day pleasurably and usefully today, I decided to take her to the Art Gallery of NSW, in the centre of Sydney.

It's a very well-maintained gallery and some of the work on display is excellent, but the incident in question happened in the Contemporary Art section, which we visited near the end. In one of the rooms, there was the usual slightly kitschy stuff on the walls, and in the centre of the room, what looked like a slightly avant-garde chair and shelf, which I foolishly assumed was simply a seating area in keeping with the rest of the decor. There was no explanatory placard anywhere near it (as there was next to every other exhibit), so when my daughter went to sit on the seat I was slightly apprehensive but did nothing. On the shelf, there were a couple of stray bits of plasticene in no particular pattern, which she then started to fiddle with. At this point one of the gallery guards came up and said in a frightened voice "Oh no, don't..." gesturing for my daughter to move away, and I quickly took her away, realising my mistake and wanting the earth to swallow me up!

This poor guard (who was very nice about it, nicer than I would probably have been if I'd been in her shoes) then swore under her breath several times, sounding absolutely petrified, and put the plasticene back in place as if it were the Mona Lisa. I apologised several times, saying I hoped I hadn't gotten her into any trouble (to which she replied "I'm not sure yet!"), and even offering my phone/email details so that her superiors could confirm that she wasn't at fault, which she graciously declined to take. My poor daughter was a bit upset by the whole thing, since she ended up being told off a bit by both me and the guard (although the fault was really mine), but she got over it fairly quickly.

When the shock had died down, though, I had a bit of a laugh over it. This "exhibit" featured a curved chair, a mirror hanging against it for some reason, and this shelf was made in a way which reminded me of my efforts in Woodwork at school, a subject I had zero aptitude for. And the plasticene?!? I just thought and thought, and couldn't conceive of a reason why it was there.


Proof, if any was needed, that the Plastic-Arts are now truly democratic..
Kevin R
 
Posts: 109
Joined: 27 Nov 2013, 20:48

Re: Modern Art

Postby Gavin » 24 Apr 2014, 20:41

"When an artist submerges a crucifix in a jar of his own urine, or smears elephant dung on an image of the Virgin Mary, do these works belong in art museums? Can the artist simply tell religious Christians, “If you don’t want to see it, don’t go to the museum”? Or does the mere existence of such works make the world dirtier, more profane, and more degraded?

If you can’t see anything wrong here, try reversing the politics. Imagine that a conservative artist had created these works using images of Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela instead of Jesus and Mary. Imagine that his intent was to mock the quasi-deification by the left of so many black leaders. Could such works be displayed in museums in New York or Paris without triggering angry demonstrations? Might some on the left feel that the museum itself had been polluted by racism, even after the paintings were removed?"

- Jonathan Haidt, "The Righteous Mind"
Gavin
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