Is art bourgeois?

In a comment on my blog post Art theory and my art theory rant Paul Bolton writes: 

My disagreement with the stuckists stems from the approach to art as an invention. But an invention that stems from bourgeois ideologies.


New poetry from Narrow Gate Press

Do you like poems that speak to the mind as well as the heart?

My latest venture is the publication of a book of poems by my late friend and former teacher David Henschel. I only knew of these poems after he died.

Listen, be glad, 
but turn and sleep again 
until the swords and songs both say 
‘now peace is in awakening.’

I have created a separate blog for these poems. I shall post a full poem monthly on that blog, with weekly thoughts on short extracts.


Talk to the prawn - 2

I realised yesterday that talking to a prawn might not be as crazy as first seems. Or alternatively it is, and we all are.

I was thinking a particularly loud thought, as one might do sometimes while communing with nature in the smallest room, or while driving a familiar piece of road. Suddenly a word popped out of my mouth unbidden. The word was part of a sentence in my totally useless and automatic thought process at that time.

When we are children we tend to recognise that people who talk to themselves are nuts. They generally are and are usually adults. When we have something to say as children, we tend to say it. As we grow up we have more and more thoughts that we don't say, and we start talking to ourselves internally. This is laughingly known as thought and supposedly is what distinguishes us from lower forms of life.

Nowadays of course it is much harder to spot nutters, as we all have mobile phones, so people can and do walk about talking to themselves with their heads on one side all the time paying scant attention to external reality.

Given that this is going on anyway, why not talk to a prawn? At least the prawn is out there in the real world, albeit the prawn is non-English speaking and actually dead. Nevertheless it is a step up from talking to oneself.

I suspect if we all had a plastic prawn (a real one might smell after a bit) in our bathrooms so that we could go in there and talk to it when we wanted to have a random thought, we should be embarrassed at how mundane most of our thoughts are.

I look forward to hearing from anyone who thinks I've got this all wrong.


Art theory

Some while ago I wrote a rant on art theory. E.J emails me that my essay is flawed.

E.J says that If someone thinks a trash bin full of garbage is more interesting than a Rembrandt, that is their view and they must have reasons for it. He goes on to say that Your assertion that he is wrong to feel that way and that you could walk up to him and say, "Wrong! Change how you feel and your experiences!" is crazy. He also says that we should not enlist a tyranny of the majority to decide on what is considered good and what is considered bad.

As to the first point, I acknowledge it. If someone gets enjoyment from a rubbish bag (whether displayed as art or otherwise) then so be it. Foxes do.

As to the second point, I don't think I wrote anything resembling it.

Regarding the accusation that I wish to enlist a tyranny of the majority, I do not. All tyrannies are to be avoided.

The question with any piece of art is, what is its aim? If its aim is to amuse foxes, then we can judge that piece of art by how successful it is at attracting foxes. If its aim is pleasant decoration, then so be it. If its aim is to induce nausea, or the self-aggrandisement of the artist, then again it may be successful by either of these criteria. And if its aim is to enlarge our humanity and our sense of beauty, then the artist must strive for that.