Sunday, December 09, 2007

Nick on the Turner Prize:

I wonder whether the Turner judges blustered because they knew in their hearts that in the current climate in liberal England Wallinger would have made a 'bold political statement' if he had put a piece defending the government in the Tate. As it was, he produced lifeless propaganda that even the converted found preachy. His State Britain is merely a reproduction of Haw's protest - the Tate's equivalent of an Airfix model - and an aesthetically and politically inferior reproduction at that. Even after the police cut back their number, Haw's tattered banners stained with mud and rain are far more powerful, not least because of their location opposite the Parliament whose politicians he despises. Wallinger's clean-cut copy, by contrast, sits in a gallery where it runs no risks; a deodorised protest that will never worry the authorities.

Of course if Wallinger had done a conventional statue in the classical style of soldiers in heroic poses, or of Tony Blair declaiming in the House, that would have made a powerful statement. Just not the once Nick is hoping for. One imagines that the ironic impact of such a creation wouldn't have been lost even on Nick, and we'd then have had a column denouncing Wallinger's cynicism.

That art criticism isn't Nick's thing gets underlined with his contrast between the powerful original and the less powerful work of art. "Your picture of a racehorse, Mr Stubbs", thunders Nick, "doesn't have the power of an actual racehorse. It merely sits in a gallery where it runs no risks!" The thought that Wallinger might be making some point about representation, reality, galleries and art prizes doesn't seem to have occurred to Nick, who can only see agitprop with a different message to the agitprop he'd like to see.

The rest of the column is just Galloway blah blah blah, liberal intelligensia blah blah blah, as one might expect.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Simon said...

We do get this gem at the end, though:

"Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I don't think the moral blindness of the intelligentsia can last much longer. Obviously, some who have lost their bearings after Iraq will never find them again and stagger around bellowing for the rest of their days, but the hysterical mood is lifting from others."

It fits Nick and his Decent mates rather well.

12/09/2007 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous darkhorse said...

Nick also misses the fact that State Britain was site specific, supposedly lying on the boundary of the exclusion zone of unauthorised demonstrations in Westminster. Although, according to wiki, strictly legally speaking, it was outside the exclusion zone (yes, yes, I know not to depend on wiki for the last word...)

"The Tate press release on the exhibition mentioned that the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 prohibited "unauthorised demonstrations within a one kilometre radius of Parliament Square" and that this radius passed through the Duveen Hall, literally bisecting Wallinger's exhibit. [4] Wallinger marked this on the floor with a black line running through the Tate. Initial press reports dwelt on the potential dangers of this infringement, speculating that the police might even remove the half of the exhibit on the "wrong side of the line".[7] However, Charles Thomson of the Stuckists pointed out the exclusion zone ended at Thorney Street, 300 yards before the Tate.[8] The one kilometre radius is the maximum possible, but not actual, area of the designated zone, which is mapped out by particular streets."

12/09/2007 01:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just an aside on the growing Islamophobic tendencies of the Observer, regarding their article on Gillian Gibbons.

My (early) edition has the melodramatic title: "My terror was that a guard would teach me a lesson by raping me", followed by a quote in the text: I had no justification for thinking that. But it was my worst terror - that they would come in and teach me a lesson by raping me ...".

On the Guardian web site (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2224758,00.html), this is now changed to: "I was terrified that the guards would come in and teach me a lesson", followed by a removal of the quote: "Asked if she was referring to the fear of being raped she said, 'Yes, but I had no justification for thinking that. I was never mistreated.'

Which implies that the idea of rape was put by the interviewer, and not the interviewee, yet ended up as a direct quote in the headline ...

12/09/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wallinger's clean-cut copy, by contrast, sits in a gallery where it runs no risks; a deodorised protest that will never worry the authorities.

Nick here exposes himself as someone who has no idea of what art is. reading his piece one would conclude that Wallinger's artwork was just Haw's protest moved to Tate Britain. But it wasn't, which was the whole point - it was a piece about the futility of political art, as even in a gallery within the 'exclusion zone' (or not), the eaxt same thing which they are trying to criminalise was not considered of sufficient risk to warrant prosecution. Wallinger was making the exact point Cohen is - within a gallery, the kind of protest which the governemnt is trying to band form outside parliament is ok, even if it's illegal. But nick hasn't even noticed it. I wonder if he even saw the thing. somehow i doubt it.

The fact that he seems to think a more valid piece of political art would be one in support of the war speaks volumes about his manifest lack of understanding of what Wallinger was doing.

As Simon said, this is crucial:

Obviously, some who have lost their bearings after Iraq will never find them again and stagger around bellowing for the rest of their days

Of course Nick in this piece is not 'bellowing' in the slightest - he has thought long and hard about walinger's piece, oh yes, and is not just reproducing old, tedious, tangential material about Galloway.

12/09/2007 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Which implies that the idea of rape was put by the interviewer, and not the interviewee, yet ended up as a direct quote in the headline ...

Now where have we seen that before?

12/10/2007 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Pete or Dud said "I've been looking at Leonardo's cartoon for half an hour and I still don;t see the joke"

12/10/2007 09:29:00 AM  

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