A lot of people chew up the scenery. I’m a firm believer in less is more…

The Alternative Advent: Day 2

alternative advent day 2bThe object of art is to give life shape & something to chew over—

It also works the other way…

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship. Just as, imagination without skill gives us modern art. Tom Stoppard made that observation, no doubt with, The Prudence and the Pill in mind: Nothing unites the English like war. Nothing divides them like Picasso.

Modern Art, it’s true— is considered with derision by many and as absurd by most, typified by nothing better than The Turner Prize. It is greeted each year with anticipation and enthusiasm, but for all the wrong reasons. With a glint in their eyes and half-baked chuckles wrestling in their throats, our newsreaders announce the short-list and their creators’ achievements, knowing full well that that we: the unenlightened ones, will be hooting and cursing in equal portions wondering what on Earth it’s all about?

Rachel Whiteread won the award in 1993, with her creation “House”. You may remember it: a Victorian Terrace was filled with concrete then its outsides were taken away, and so astonishing was its impact, the local council waited an entire year before tearing it down.

More recently though we had my personal favourite: Simon Starling, who ingeniously turned a boat into a shed, then back into a boat. Imaginatively titled: Shedboatshed (Mobile Architecture No 2). It was supposed represent the, slowing of things down, and about trying to retard the incredible speed with which we live.

The only thing I could tell was being slowed however, was the boat’s ability to float.

But of course it did. It made perfect sense. It made as much of it as being described ‘eccentric’ did to Mr Starling— which wasn’t a great deal, in fact he took great umbrage at the description— an act I found more bewildering than his former dinghy.

There’s little wrong with ‘form’ of any kind going hand-in-hand with hand and head, but when hands and bloockls become inseparable, even indistinguishable from the bullshit and bafflement which surrounds it; perhaps it’s worth trying to take the intellectual out of the art, or better still, away from it altogether.

How about bringing a little accessibility back? How about something like:

Bubble Gum Art?

I’d have galleries handing out different coloured gum upon entering, to be chewed; there’s a little ‘shaping’ for you right there, where it matters— on the building blocks. It’s contemporary, very pop; and like all art— not everyone’s cup of tea— so it’ll either be chewed over or not—  with verbals or mandibles, it doesn’t matter…

Towards the end of the gallery I would have a canvas for the used gum and a bin for that which was not. I like the irony but none of the significance which could easily be spun— but it’s as close as I can imagine, art for art’s sake, becoming more than a spectator sport, at least indoors anyway; and the kids would love it…

It’s clever—

But is it art?


Author: DB James

It's one of the finest things we do; write about our lives, because not only do we reveal our minds through revelations our thoughts provide us— But it gives us an incentive to be honest... It's almost impossible not to consider the value of thoughts with the fairly steady flow of them; their rudimentary worth, relevance to our lives and the importance to the people who have them. It's easy to see how distorted a thought can become when left to constant re-examination and how faceless victim/culprit dichotomies are given grounding by a name or a hover-card. If the last few weeks has demonstrated anything, it's how something as simple as a pen-stroke can release the burden and stresses they invariably cause. I've had glimpses into how fears, confessions, pains and crises can be put right by words creating deeds by changing little parts of the world. And I shouldn't be surprised: we write about things and repeat ourselves about things that have meaning to us. It keeps me humble...

11 thoughts on “A lot of people chew up the scenery. I’m a firm believer in less is more…”

      1. I’ve taken breaks before and changed nothing but scenery, so I was determined to have a complete rest. I’ve spent 12 hours a day reading and writing for a while and needed to refresh. I just wish I’d remembered to prepare better for the advent and yesterday was a bloody nightmare getting home and whatnot – I just needed sleep.

        I do feel horribly behind with everything – it’s going to take a week or more to catch up, never-mind keeping up! 😮

        First things first though – keep the kettle going and slowly chip away! 😀

        I blogged for nigh on a decade the last time, but it’s been a long time since I stopped. It does take a little time to get back into the swing of it and I certainly missed it last week, despite needing a break. The nature of what I write about makes a rest pretty necessary too. If it was opinion pieces or journal type, it wouldn’t be so tough, but therein’s the challenge and the fun.

        I missed you guys too – I had to resort to speaking when I was away, which takes a bit of time to get back into – but I was an horrendous chatterbox by the end of it. I was irritating myself! 😀

  1. i missed you too and have been furiously been chewing gum in anticipation of your return. i have crafted a wooly mammoth sculpture out of mine. it lights up each day during hanukkah and then returns for christmas.

    1. 😀 brilliant! That’s an awful lot of jawing! Unless it’s a baby one – or just a scale model of the largest mammoth there could ever have been. I still scrunch at the description of 1:1 scale anything as models – surely if they’re actual size, they’re actual whatever they are – just different!

  2. Shedboatshed? Oh my, I’ve been missing out on some real fun. I think the process must be:

    1) Could we?
    a) if no, wake up and go to work.
    b) if yes, proceed.
    2) Should we?
    a) if no, sober up and get on with life.
    b) if yes, then Turner Prize.

    Honestly, just the ideas are pretty cool even if they’re best for humor. It does kind of represent the state of science, though, where innovations are coming more from combinations of past innovations than from previously unknown things.

    1. I love the idea that science is a collaborative effort, either building upon others breakthroughs – or at the other end, breaking things down into ever smaller pieces – I love the idea of some dude with a mop giving the LHC a quick one over before booting it up!

      Shedboatshed – oh how I laughed!

      Your reasoning is absolutely spot on – some of the ridiculous my mother has come up with in the past for repairing lawn-mowers are candidates of the Turner Prize!

      I’m sure nude abseiling was short-listed one year!

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