Art for all?
And therein lies their artistic hypocrisy. When Gilbert and George began making art in the 60s, they fashioned a manifesto. They wanted to make "art for all". In this, I would say, certainly on the evidence of last Friday evening at the Tate, they have failed. Walking around the exhibition, a sense of foreboding heaviness hung in the air, as tends to happen when the middle classes coalesce in an art gallery with the main purpose of agreeing on something. There is a vaguely funereal air to the hushed reverence that accompanies this sort of art seen by this group of people.
What is art for all? And can high art of this type ever hope to achieve it? Beyond Damien Hirst, whose spot patterns have appeared in diluted form everywhere from Cath Kidston teacups to Paperchase stationery, of course.
Nevermind because for a few hours longer (until 11:30PM tonight) we can all have our own Gilbert & George artwork on-line for free from the Guardian website here. But if this is what Gilbert and George call "art for all" it's another joke and no funnier than their others.