Saturday, January 09, 2010
what sort of school is this?
Watching 'School of Saatchi' on the BBC, which follows several young artists as they produce artwork for an exhibition in a stately home, I can see why people think art irrelevant and pretentious. What cutting or even interesting statements are these artists making? The works being showcased are puerile and the ideas leading to them inchoate. Hasn't anyone ever taught these artists how to think critically? It would seem not. One young woman is flummoxed when a mildly challenging observation is made about her installation; worse still, she can offer no reply to her critic. Much as I hate resorting to the 'when I was an art student' kind of witcraft, I seem to recall working very hard to defend and justify my art from the savage criticism of my senior lecturer, John Robson. Old JR may not have endeared himself to me back then with his critique but, with hindsight and experience, I realise he taught me how to think my ideas through and eradicate or amend the weak ones. Those involved with the school of Saatchi really need to do the same if we are to be spared the kind of pap that Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin produce; but then perhaps that is asking too much from a patron who has always preferred glitz to substance: more worrying, is that Saatchi's fondness for all that is trite is a sign of our times.