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David Thompson
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January 24, 2012

Comments

Anna

Wow. Just... wow.

You know what would have made her 'park intervention' better?

Gunfire.

David

Anna,

“You know what would have made her ‘park intervention’ better? Gunfire.”

Yes, an armed audience is a happy audience.

What’s interesting about Vestergaard’s project – the only thing that’s interesting about it – is the comical mismatch between the rhetoric and reality. We’re told it’s all going to be very radical and searingly intellectual – “societal context… social processes… the construction of history… art and democracy… collectivity and individuality,” etc. All the standard guff. And yet the evidence presented to convince us of this says otherwise - and not just otherwise, but exactly the opposite. We see some inarticulate waffle, some people tearing at grass for no discernible reason, and lots of idleness, flummery and farting about. Even the narcissists involved seem faintly embarrassed by it all. (See the ‘open day’ for the public; video 2 around 4:20.)

You have to wonder what it’s like to be doomed to such a glaring shortfall between ambition and achievement, not just once but over and over again. (And to nonetheless get away with it and be given public money, over and over again.)

Darleen

I haven't looked at the videos yet ... need to do that tonight after a couple of drinks, just my morning coffee won't do ... but just those B&W pics of Artiste at Work smack so much of pretentious middle-schooler I know a mere glass of wine will not do. Time to break out the gin.

sk60

And to nonetheless get away with it and be given public money, over and over again.

Embarrassment (or conscience) won't stop these parasites. We have to stop feeding them.

rjmadden

It's actually even worse than the car thing she did. Incredible.

a place for artists who longed to escape “the choking effects of the market,”

For 'market' read 'skill/adulthood/responsibility'.

Andrea Harris

It's kind of too bad about that castle. It looked like nice digs and maybe would have made a great hotel or bed-and-breakfast or what have you. I wonder what the "tragedy" was that ended up with it demolished? I assume a scenario where one of the "freethinking" artists lost control of their bong and set the place on fire.

watcher

“the choking effects of the market”

As opposed to the strangling effect of no talent and even less interest.

dicentra

And to nonetheless get away with it and be given public money, over and over again.

Are they (a) so narcissistic that they feel perfectly entitled to public funds for their Incandescent Insights or (b) skilled con "artists" (heh) who cynically use the language of aesthetic achievement to loot the public treasury?

LS

Release the hounds.

David

dicentra,

“Are they (a) so narcissistic that they feel perfectly entitled to public funds for their Incandescent Insights or (b) skilled con ‘artists’ (heh) who cynically use the language of aesthetic achievement to loot the public treasury?”

I suppose that depends on how self-aware you think these people are.

dicentra

I've watched the vids, now, and I'm highly disappointed by how dilute the twaddle was.

Remember that flashback scene from Absolutely Fabulous where Patsy's mother gives birth to her in a Bohemian artist's colony: the self-absorbed artists dance, recite poetry, and play the flute, oblivious to the birthing in their midst?

The PARODY artists produced better stuff than these sub-moronic twats.

Even the narcissists involved seem faintly embarrassed by it all.

As well they should be. This isn't even good rubbish.

AC1

For these people a sense of entitlement has become an emotion, with no thought at all involved.

homo extortus.

John Holland

I crashed a party once, where everyone dumped their coats onto the host's bed; after much drunken revelry one of the couples retired to the bedroom to make out. The result looked much like your third photo.

Just think, they could've applied for an art grant to do that.

"radical and uncompromising" is indistinguishable from "too pissed to put someone else's coat on straight".

mojo

Decenter? Ah, yes...

If I recall correctly, Sean Connery showed up in a red diaper and a big moustache, packing a Webley.

Tragic, just tragic.

Franklin

What stands out here is the contrast between the 1970s group and the current one. The former perhaps looks a bit silly, but at least they seem to be having fun, and a modicum of thought and daring went into the effort. Costumes! Choreography! Nudism! A spirited bunch.

Whereas the latter are a bunch of inert worrywarts. Even running across a field, they look listless and self-conscious. They produced unimaginative interventions, socially conscious trifles, and dull conversation, duly recorded. It gives you an idea of what kind of dreary people are drawn to, and supported by, contemporary art practice as imagined by academics and self-described intellectuals.

David

Franklin,

“Even running across a field, they look listless and self-conscious. They produced unimaginative interventions, socially conscious trifles, and dull conversation, duly recorded. It gives you an idea of what kind of dreary people are drawn to, and supported by, contemporary art practice as imagined by academics and self-described intellectuals.”

Quite. And much the same half-hearted toss was in evidence here. The same absurdly overblown guff about “considering the delivery parameters of creative output” and “revealing the mechanics of authorship,” with audiences being “granted the privilege of witnessing the multifarious facets of an artist’s psyche.” And all this said as if to divert attention from what was basically a rehash of a rehash, with most of those involved sounding self-conscious and wearied. It was pitched as daring - so very, very, daring - yet the actual effect was of something vacuous, dishonest and utterly exhausted.

Andrew Duffin

Dr. Trelawney lives!

But which is Mrs. Erdleigh?

svh

Dear art world,

I don't need 'interventions' and conceptual bollocks but I do like beautiful things.

Is that too much to ask?

David

svh,

“Is that too much to ask?”

Ah, but ‘artists’ like those above – and there are so many just like them - don’t believe their job is to make something you, the unwashed public, might actually want and even buy with your own money. It’s a caste thing. Know your place, goddammit. You’re choking them with your bourgeois ideas of beauty and all that dirty, dirty commerce.

And besides, they don’t need to worry about what you might like. They’ve already got your money.

Franklin

"They’ve already got your money."

And those of us who would like to provide you with beautiful things are not commensurately blessed by the nation-state.

David

The irony should be obvious yet somehow people like Vestergaard don’t seem to see it, or choose not to notice. The more artists abandon aesthetics and commerce in favour of public subsidy, conceptual waffle and pretensions of socio-political “relevance,” the less relevant they tend to become.

Few outside their immediate circle really give a toss – see the Unrealised Potential link, above. Or this so-called “festival.” Or, God help us, this.

For whom are these things being done? The general public?

And so we have an insular, presumptuous, self-regarding caste, schooled in verbal flummery and status-seeking rather than visual skill. It’s a subsidised hustle for narcissists and the intellectually insecure. Not exactly something you’d choose to spend your money on.

dr cromarty

All very Danish. Brings to mind Lars Von Trier's The Idiots with adults pretending to be retards and engaging in "spazzing".

Von Trier wanted government funding too, rather than relying on big corporations (not that he would think of a government or the EU as a big corporation, of course)

matt

I am shocked, SHOCKED, that a bunch of faux-intellectual artsy buffoonery failed to shake the world

Rich Rostrom

Andrea Harris: I wonder what the "tragedy" was that ended up with it demolished?

This Danish site says "due to bad conditions and high inheritage fees". The site is the personal creation of someone from Møn, the island where the manor was.

Vestergaard sez the manor "was demolished overnight".

I'm guessing that that some elderly sucker let the art-hippie commune use manor, and they had it pretty well messed up. Then the patron died. The estate needed cash to settle taxes, which meant selling off the property, but the defiled manor house was not only worthless but an encumbrance to sale. So it came down.

it was built in 1850, apparently.

rg

"... communal dinning ..."[sic]

Exactly.

jones

In the spirit of true introspective awareness I have to question my open-mindedness because I simply could not watch them right through.......

Is that fair of me?....Honest question.

It is a matter of 'perspective' after all...

Jonathan

" Count Moltke died and the Castle was demolished".
In other words: " The money guy died, so we had to find someone else to leech off."
Up until maybe 150 years ago, art was just seen as decoration and artists were merely tradesmen. How on earth did we get from there to here?

Andrea Harris

Rich Rostrum: ah well. You can't save all the nice old buildings.

Franklin

At 2:40 in the second video, a sheepish artist says, "I've been working on a shadow play, which I guess, would be... a piece..." The group responds with mirth and mock outrage. You can tell that there has been much discussion beforehand, far in addition to what appears in the video, that assumes that making a distinct, tangible thing is bad, and that ownership is bad, even creative ownership. The rationale for this is a kind of flaccid Marxism and the belief that artistic value resides in concepts, not in materials or execution. I would suggest that if you, as an artist, have stopped worrying about failing to make something good, and are now worrying about failing not to make something, you have lost your way. But this sort of thing passes for high sophistication in the associated circles.

David

Franklin,

“The rationale for this is a kind of flaccid Marxism and the belief that artistic value resides in concepts, not in materials or execution.”

And so, whether driven by ideology or witlessness, the artists (or pseudo-artists) move even further from the people who are taxed to fund such noodling. There is no relationship to speak of with the wider public, and therefore no “relevance,” whatever the pretensions to the contrary. Again, not exactly something you’d choose to spend your money on. And so the economic dynamic becomes parasitic rather than reciprocal.

Andrea Harris

I think the whole thing about not actually making anything but just sitting around "conceptualizing" and then going off to a protest or another festival about nothing indicates that these people's deepest fear is being considered a *craftsman* and not an *artist*. See, an artist is Important, and gets talked about in Art Class, and gets admired by men/women/things, and gets written up in the papers (but only the really Important papers like the Guardian). Whereas a craftsman just makes things, he's like a carpenter or your granny making quilts. The only artists who actually made things who aren't called "craftsmen" are dead ones, or ones who are so Important you don't dare say "boo" to them or you'll never get a grant or be able to show your little pieces of dirty paper and lint in a gallery.

elberry

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/article/243226

"I’ve left the castle and fifteenth-century farmhouse belonging to Civitella Ranieri, a tiny artists’ colony near the town of Gubbio, where my only job was to read the poet Propertius, or whoever I chose, and maybe to write some poems. Propertius was born in Assisi during the first century bce. He seems to have been a bit of a recluse. A poet’s poet, he was Elizabeth Bishop in a toga. And he didn’t seem to be constantly kissing imperial ass like some of his contemporaries. His humor allowed him to see himself. “Where are you rushing to, Propertius, wandering rashly, babbling on about Fate?” Clad in a bathrobe, I read this and waded into warm, morning dirt and to zucchini flowers off the vine for truffle frittatas.

So, what, I wonder, on this train to Rome, am I doing leaving that paradise for the coming chaos of refugees? I need a break from silence and a hit of the world. Also, it’s my responsibility."

Richard Powell

We should cherish her, and others like her, while we still can. Before long, they will be like the Grindletonians and the Muggletonians, and if they are remembered at all it will be on websites such as this. From the point of view of readers here, it is Danish and Swedish taxpayers' money well spent.

Re the reference to "Count Moltke": surely not the Field Marshal and Chief of the German General Staff? He was reported to have smiled only twice in his adult life: Once on being told that the sea defences of Stockholm were impregnable; and once on hearing that his mother-in-law had died. Perhaps if Bettina Camilla Westergaard had been around some time between 1820 and 1890 his lips would have flickered a third time.

clazy8

What's that music at the beginning of the first video? I can almost remember what it is, and I'd like to dig it up. The video was otherwise unwatchable. When the music faded, it was as if all the air had been sucked out of the room. I barely managed to hit the stop button before falling unconscious.

David

Clazy,

The music is the only evidence of aesthetic accomplishment. So naturally it isn’t credited.

AC1

Are they the "Dunning Kruger mutual support group"?

clazy8

Yes -- for a moment, I considered whether a credit would have drawn attention to the artlessness of the artists, so that there might have been some element of intent to its absence, but I immediately dismissed the possibility, since aimlessness seems to be these people's sole objective. I.e., they couldn't be bothered to leave the credit out any more than they could be bothered to put it in.

Thornavis.

Never mind Count Moltke, Count Magnus would have known what to do with this lot.
http://www.horrormasters.com/Text/a0359.pdf

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