Friday, November 16, 2007

Art Space Opinions: David Lee on Current Art Movements


David Lee is a British art critic who was once the editor of Art Review magazine. He is now the publisher and editor of The Jackdaw-- an art magazine that is satirical, opinionated and often vitriolic. www.thejackdaw.co.uk

Brian Sherwin: David, with the advent of the Internet contemporary art movements have increased in number. For example, the art movement Stuckism, founded by Charles Thomson and Billy Childish, has splinter groups around the globe-- the movement is represented in over 40 countries. In Japan the Superflat art movement, founded by the artist Takashi Murakami, has influenced a generation of young artists. In Ireland the Defastenist art movement continues to expand both in artistic and political ideology. These groups continue to reach out to new members on networking sites like myspace.com and facebook.com. There is no doubt that their numbers will grow.

What is your opinion about art movements that are fueled by the Internet? Should we question the validity of these movements-- is it harmful for artists to become involved with movements in this manner? Can they be successful? What is your opinion in regards to this issue?

David Lee: Brian, I have no knowledge of most of these 'movements' and no desire to see them. I go to see works only that interest me, and that rarely. Life is too short for the rest of it. 99.99% of what I've seen in the last 25 years is shite. And even among the small number of things I think I might want to see a large proportion is rubbish.

In October I saw the Turner Prize in Liverpool. With the exception of Mike Nelson the work on show was indistinguishable from that of students piss-poor ones. At the Yorkshire Sculpture Park I saw 'Sheep Drawings' by Andy Goldsworthy that would have shamed a children's workshop... I have interest only in individual works seen face to face. Movements are for amateurs who need camaraderie and mutual support for the crap work they produce I mean just look at the paintings produced by the Stuckists!

Self-styled movements are in the end bound to be restrictive precisely because they are prescriptive. Vantongerloo, van Doesburg and Mondrian are interesting individuals way before they are interesting De Stijl-ists or Constructivists. As far as recent movements are concerned I look forward to the day when someone writes a polemic about Modern Art entitled 'From Impressionism to Opportunism'.


Stuckism www.stuckism.com
Superflat www.kaikaikiki.co.jp
Defastenism www.defastenism.4t.com

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

David Lee is a f@#$%ing idiot.

End of story.

Charles Thomson said...

I mean just look at the paintings produced by the Pre-Raphaelites, the Impressionists, the Fauvists, the Expressionists, the Cubists (cont. p.97)! The crap work of amateurs needing camaraderie and mutual support is self-evident. David tells it like it is!

Anonymous said...

These art movements are bowel movements at best. They should all be flushed. I'd say that they are founded by failed artists who need an extra ego boost to get them over the lump that they call a career.

C

Anonymous said...

I think the art world is becoming like a second Academy. Elitist try to dictate what is art and what is not, who is hot and who is not. The irony is that the art that is hot can be traced to art that was once looked down at by the old Academy. The art of that time was an art for the people. I'd like to see a return to that.

Anonymous said...

"The art of that time was an art for the people. I'd like to see a return to that." - well, Stuckism would be art for the people, if certain Stuckists weren't so busy slagging off the establishment. But then again, if certain stuckists weren't ripping into people, no one would have heard of us.
Mr Lee says: "I only look at what interests me" - only what he already knows - then how on earth can you ever discover anything new? How can you dismiss as crap things you've never seen? Sounds like Billy Childish in a nut and we all know what movement HE founded...

from: a Stuckist

Anonymous said...

The "movement" existing in the art culture, based on the internet, is merely a vehicle to communicate it's existence. The value judgement of whether or not it is good art is moot. The internet is merely a gallery, not unlike the gallery on any given street in the world.
Todays art scene is in a transient state between social realism and some mutated form of surrealism as yet to be defined. Technique or substance aside, the current form of art is taking a very drastic turn.
The great thing about an "internet movement" is the fact that artists from all over the world can come together in a discourse as futile as dada or as omniscent as a Raphael. The main point the author of this rant seems to miss, is the very fact he is creating this, on the internet, creates his point somewhat strained.

Anonymous said...

Call me naive, but I never quite got the idea of "movements" over personal expression. For me, it's about the art, and the art stands on its own, twisting in the wind, so to speak. Overlaying it with some theoretical BS or tying it to some kind of feverish search for novelty diminishes its message from a personal one to a political one.

If art has to have a banner to be valid, then art becomes some kind of calculated exploitation, a self-created importance not based on anything more than its own say so.

I'm naive, as I said. So, to me, it's always been about the particular art and what it elicits from the particular viewer.

Context is integral to meaning, but mostly as personal context. I still think that art at its best can be intimate and personal communication, rather than propogandistic nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Yes I'm totally agree with David he is just saying the way things are, modern art is full of pseudo intellectuals.

Charles Thomson said...

For the record, the core Stuckists started working together from 1979 onwards. The art was already there, before we decided to use the word Stuckism to describe it in 1999. The agenda came from the art, not the other way round.

Chris Hardy said...

David Lee-

You're so very bright, so very clever. Your words of wisdom leave me in awe. That's sarcasm BTW.

You seem a bit daft and need the obvious pointed out to you.

Who I'm I to preach such heresy, just a mere amateur seeking out camaraderie and mutual support.

However, David, somewhow you did manage to stumble across one truism in your comment - "Life is too short..."

Yes, life is too short to listen to the crap and drivel you produce. After all, I have crap of my own to produce.

Which of our crap will history choose to acknowledge, yours or mine.

I wonder?

Be forewarned I'm a persitent bastard who can consistently produce despite a uninterested public. Are you?

Cheers

Chris Hardy
Phoenix Stuckists

Chris Hardy said...

Part 2-

David Lee-

Think of this a "Chris Hardy on Current Art Criticism."

I just visited your website - Jackdaw.

Do you have an editor?

No,really, do you?

David, you use 15, o.k., that's an exaggeration - maybe 7- words when 1 will do.

Are you that in love with the sound of your own voice?

Christ, that is some really poor writing - almost unitelligable.

Might I suggest that you seek out the camaraderie and mutual support of some amateur writers. They might be able to help you out.

Cheers

Chris Hardy
Phoenix Stuckists

Murray Hubick said...

I must admit that I have a considerable amout of sympathy for what you are saying. That polemic should be written. It has occured to me that the turner prize is often won by those whose great talent was the talent of knowing exactly what the judges want. Unfortunately, society gets what society wants and it has always been thus.

Anonymous said...

David Lee is a f@#$%ing genius.

Anonymous said...

David Lee is a f@#$%ing genius.

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