Thursday, May 10, 2007

Art for all?

It was on leaving the Gilbert and George retrospective at Tate Modern that I was washed over with that slightly annoyed-with-myself sensation that you get when you leave an exhibition of high art feeling you have endured rather than enjoyed it. I felt rather outraged by it all. It was full of infantile humour about bodily functions that was neither intellectual nor fun.

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love G&G although think they would have been better placed in the Tate Britain than Modern.

Sorry you disliked the exhibition CS!

1:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool thanks just downloaded will try and sell on EBAY soon. They will be worth something.

1:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting show about them on BBC the other night. Not sure I felt I missed out by not catching the thing at Tate though. A lot of it is steeped in anti-Catholic feelings.

1:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

deja vu

1:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great photo of them here :-)

1:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is hard to decide what is menat by art for all. If by hanging then in a gallery then they can never be art for all I am not sure that is right. Does art have to be on the street and in public to be art for all?

1:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sticking up penises and thinking women will enjoy their interpretation was insulting and abse. I agree!

2:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks CS will download this when my boss leaves for the day.

Pretty neat picture all around.

3:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put Slicky! I didnt like it either.

3:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lot of pretentious old tosh. No wonder you Londoners like it.

4:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you CS they are well past irritation now. Art does not have to equate with vulgarity to ellicit a response.

4:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was excruciatingly samey, wasn't it? Apart from some drawings at the beginning and some genuninely funny stuff near the end, it was just the same idea over and over again. Tiresome.

8:23 am  
Blogger *snake*bite* said...

Shame it didn't go so well CS but at least u got a post out of it!


1:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd agree with you. The G&G show was over-rated. Let's hope the next exhibition is better.

9:56 pm  

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