David Thompson


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November 18, 2009


Karen M

"A bench which, in its fragility and remoteness, becomes a silent witness of the dramatic changes that are occurring in the Arctic.

A bench with nobody to sit on."

Thank you, David. I was actually weeping (with laughter).


Jarvis Cocker - at "the front-line of climate change". I feel much safer now.


And Marcus "tosser" Brigstocke just writes about himself. Ker-ching!


“And Marcus ‘tosser’ Brigstocke just writes about himself. Ker-ching!”

If you browse the various “works” I think you’ll find that’s the preferred artistic approach. It’s perhaps best indicated by Ms Galeazzi, who takes great care to mention just how “courageous,” “outrageous” and “thought provoking” she is. I mean, please, it’s not just about someone being filmed opening a canister of gas. It’s also about.... her. And who wouldn’t be fascinated?

It’s basically a subsidised holiday for parasites, incompetents and the comically self-absorbed.


I swear, it's like a sausage factory now. They just keep grinding it out:


"Embrace the profundity". Ha!

Once more you provide a devastating - and devastatingly funny - critique of the follies of fools. More please!


Marcus Brigstocke doing what he does best:


Ted S., Catskills, NY

"Michèle Noach collected Arctic poppies."

Is there a law about removing native flora?

Dave H.

Poor old Daily Mash. Utterly outdone by real life.

Jason Bontrager

So passing gas in Antarctica is Art? What about passing gas in Texas? I do that all the time! Where's my funding?!

And that other thing, "A bench with nobody to sit on."...I wasn't aware that benches habitually sat on people...


Beatboxing for Gaia. Priceless. Can we keep 'em on ice forever?

John D

"Yesterday for me was a roller-coaster of emotions: determination and failure, hope and fear, anticipation and disappointment... I started to feel that my project was gaining a different, and maybe stronger, meaning... And maybe the bench was an excuse and didn't need to be left out on the ice at all."

Thanks, David. That was very funny. :D


“...a roller-coaster of emotions...”

I suspect Ms Galeazzi’s most emotional moment was clutching her gas cylinder and hearing the line, “The world’s press is on you.” Though that may have been an overstatement on the part of the cameraman, as until yesterday I’d never heard of Ms Galeazzi and her enormous artistic talent.

Hopefully this post goes some way to correcting that terrible oversight.


"Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people's lives. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better."



Shouldn't someone tell them that C02 cylinders are not to be passed around like a bong?

Chris S

Sounds like one person there got one thing right though.

"Men have produced a lot of great art over the centuries, or whatever... but... an iceberg kind of, basically, pisses on it."

That's right poseurs. You all suck. All your "works", your "conciousness raising", your "provocative edgyness", it all pales in comparison to a big piece of f***ing ice. You'll never compete with real beauty, in fact, your art sullies it. So take your petty little art pieces and go home and weep in shame.


So they released CO2 into the atmosphere, projected a film on to an glacier that was just sitting there minding its own business, and used an electric amplifier to imitate the sound of acoustic drums. Whose side are these people on?

Windy Wilson

The tracker was a fundamental part of the project, commenting on our contemporary surveillance society.

Two birds, one stone. A bargain.

Particularly when one considers that the same statist forces that seek to regulate carbon emissions and to promulgate the religion of ecology and the doctrine of anthropogenic global warming are the same statist forces that expand the contemporary surveillance society.

Horace Dunn

Oh come on people. Be fair. I mean we need to raise awareness of this whole global warming, climate change thing. So few people know about it and it's never discussed in the media. Full marks, I say, to all these A-list celebrities, who have hugely demanding schedules, to take some time out to raise awareness for such an unfashionable cause. Surely, if anything, that is what the Arts Council is for?



What’s funny (or depressing) is just how oblivious to parody most of the artists appear to be. There’s a lack of self-knowledge - a stunning cluelessness. And there’s no sign they feel obliged to justify either their own inadequacy or the public expense. It’s just presumed. This is what artists do, they get free money. I suspect that tells us something about exactly how far gone the Arts Council is.

Wm T Sherman

Old economic model: Work and get paid for the work.

New economic model: Obtain sinecure.

Horace Dunn


"What’s funny (or depressing) is just how oblivious to parody most of the artists appear to be."

Hence my leaden sarcasm. It isn't funny. It's depressing. I'm not dogmatically opposed to the idea of state funding for the arts. It's just that, in practice, THEY seem to waste a lot of OUR money at a time when there is a crying need for limited funds elsewhere. You've argued (with me among others, and forgive me if I misrepresent you) that it is the very model of the Arts Council that is at fault, and I am beginning to come round to your way of thinking. That Beat-box moron did it, not to mention that silly half-wit with her gas canister and hopeful cry of "I'm an eeevil woman".



“...forgive me if I misrepresent you.”

No, that’s a fair summary. And even setting aside issues of a self-serving commissioning class engorged with public money (and a class of politically uniform subsidised inadequates), there’s still the dubious nature of the premise. When did subsidising commercially unviable art become a function of the welfare state, which is in effect what has happened?

As I said a while ago,

“When a person is taxed they lose some autonomy – their degrees of freedom are reduced, and sometimes they’re reduced quite a lot. Some reasons for inflicting this reduction are easier to justify than others... But depriving individuals of some autonomy and freedom shouldn’t be done lightly. And taking money from people via taxes in order to indulge artists whose work wouldn’t succeed on a commercial footing isn’t an entirely persuasive reason. And objecting to this reduction of autonomy doesn’t make one mean or vulgar.”



I submit my 5 stages of publicly funded art...they are as follows:

Awareness - WTF?
Amusement - What harmless little twits.
Anger - But my tax dollars are going to support this!?!?
Acceptance - Life is just plain absurd. Nothing can be done anyway.
Abjuration - Perhaps at sometime past, I took a nasty blow to the head and this is all some form of agnosia.

Note the fancy-shmancy alliteration. Is this not art? Where's my check?


"non giving up at the first difficulty"

Right! They didn't give up until 8 pm. Think of what Thomas Edison might've accomplished with that kind of sheer gutsy sticktoitiveness.

Hog Whitman

"My response was to place a park bench on a newly formed iceberg or floating ice-shelf off the fast-moving coast of West Greenland"

Uhm, there's a fine line between stupid and littering (to paraphrase Spinal Tap).


It seems to me that the difference between really good art and crap is that everyone who sees really good art can just look at it and say, basically, "Wow!". With crap, they have to go all the way to the North Pole and spend a fortune in money and words to explain it and its significance to human dignity, etc....

I.e., the more words they need to use to explain it, the higher up the crap scale it is. I am coming to believe that this may be a general law that applies to other human endeavors, starting with religion....



The reliance on exposition and text is usually a bad sign. As Ms Galeazzi and her colleagues demonstrate, the more an artist has to tell you just how bold, important and crushingly intellectual their work is, the less reason there is to believe that any of it is true.


"Being with all these inspired people seems to have filled my head with a zillion ideas for musical endeavours that could easily save the world."

Easily, I am sure. And I am also sure that 99 per cent of these zillion great ideas involve cheques from the state, all sent without any return envelope or for that matter any form of checking. No guv'mint inspectors duly inspecting the amount of lard and hot air used.


Down at the studio I'm working on an oil painting of a nude drinking a cup of tea and a cat sitting at her knee. (Sorry for the rhyme, but that's the simplest way to describe it.) I finally got it to the point that the face doesn't make me hate life, and today I'm going to try to work out her right hand, which still does, and do something about the background, which needs a massive revision. I am not a talented man compared to the greats of figurative painting. I am hoping to make a fine thing anyway, despite my limitations, of which I am painfully aware.

Nevertheless I take some encouragement from the knowledge that my abilities at their very nadir, exercised on my lousiest days as an artist, prior to my blessed morning caffeine intake, tower over those of someone who releases spent gases simultaneously from a steel canister and her flapping pie hole and calls it art of any sort.

Thank you for listening.



I like the cat btw. http://artblog.net/?name=2009-11-18-07-32-mezzo


Funny how you bitch about subsidy but you have a donations button. ;)



There’s a rather important distinction, one I’d have thought was hard to miss. The Arts Council is using money *taken coercively* regardless of whether taxpayers wish to support a given project or approve of the Arts Council’s leanings or its existence. It’s inherently arrogant; it presumes an entitlement to override personal choice, to the sum of half a billion or so a year. Whether I like it or not, and whether many of the readers of this site like it or not, we are being *forced* to bankroll excursions like the one above, and any number of other farces to be found in the archives.

Readers of this site are welcome to make a donation *if they wish*. I encourage it, of course. It helps cover the upkeep of this place and makes me feel warm inside. But it’s by no means compulsory. It isn’t a condition of being here.

It’s like comparing apples with bees.


Thank you, Anna.


Congratulations to all. Surely you've solved all your real problems if you can toss a quarter-million bucks down the toilet just to indulge someone's moral vanity. That's really good news!

Great post.

carbon based lifeform

And once again rv goes down in flames...

North Briton

Those are some pretty globally hot beats right there. Dedicated this this cause no doubt:


Karen M

David, more Arts Council good works...

"[Epileptic dancer] Rita Marcalo plans to try to induce a seizure on stage at The Bradford Playhouse as part of the 24-hour Involuntary Dances event on 11 December, which will also include dance and poetry readings. The audience will be invited to film the event on mobile phones. Ms Marcalo has stopped taking her medication ahead of the event. Arts Council England, which is funding the performance, said it aimed to raise awareness about the condition... The Arts Council both respects the creative decisions she makes in her work and supports her right as a disabled person to be heard."




Thanks for that. I suppose I ought to feel... transgressed or something, but it’s all so dismal and predictable.

“The Arts Council both respects the creative decisions she makes in her work and supports her right as a disabled person to be heard.”

Note the casual presumption: “The Arts Council supports her right as a disabled person to be heard.” But who’s stopping this woman from “being heard”? And who’s actually footing the bill? (What the Arts Council actually means is, “You the taxpayer are supporting this spectacle, whether you like it or not, because we have your wallet and We Know Best.”) If this woman wishes to endanger her health onstage and make an enormous fuss for those around her, supposedly to raise awareness of epilepsy, then why doesn’t she at least have the decency to do it on her own dime? Why the panhandling, and why make others complicit?

“Bradford Playhouse director Eleanor Bradford said: ‘Rita has made a decision that she wants to explore her own relationship with epilepsy’.”


When did theatrical displays of this kind – “exploring her relationship with epilepsy” - become a function of the welfare state? When did it become Ms Marcalo’s artistic “right” to have this “exploration” subsidised by the taxpayer? And why has no-one at the Arts Council (or over at PP) thought to ask these rather obvious questions?




great post.


Most "artists" deserve to starve.

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