Sunday, 16 May 2010

Galvanizing opinions

This week's Saturday Perspectives and Thinking Aloud sessions were facinating, with intense discussion, generated by the exhibition, as to who determines what the 'value' of art works is, and where we as viewers think that value lies. At one stage within the gallery there was quite a fierce discussion that attracted input from others who had not started off with the session, but were drawn in by the strength of feeling being voiced. The oft-repeated exclamations of "I could do that" are easily applied to some of the pieces, particularly in reference to those pieces where there is an element of supposed 'randomness' in the execution, the 'gestural' work (as described by Lutz Becker) taken to its furthest expression. The strength of feeling, both in challenging and in defending the work, was a timely reminder of how important getting to grips with the nature of "art" feels to many people. Context was identified as being terribly important when attempting to assess the impact of individual pieces; many people in the gallery yesterday expressed their delight at the opportunity the exhibition gives for a wide range of pieces to "speak to" each other. One man said it was like viewing a private collection and that for him that felt like an unusual experience in a public gallery. It was generally felt that the strength of Modern Times lies in the juxtaposition of the different works, and if one had quibbles with individual pieces the collection as a whole is surprising and challenging, offering a pluralism of voices (and responses) that is apposite as a reflection of Modern Times (both 20th Century and into the 21st.)

1 comment:

  1. Annoyingly, that oft repeated exclamation "I could do that" is never actually carried out. Were the uninitiated to try, truth would be out, they could not 'do' it. Add to trying to copy existing marks the extreme challenge of creating a new thing then worth is more apparent. For valuable comment on this matter I bought 'Press to play' in DLWP bookshop last moth, an excellent collection of conversations/interviews with contemporary artist that reveals the thinking behind modern works.