Heavy Skies
Elsewhere (30)

Reheated (16)

For newcomers, three more items from the archives.

You Are Privileged to Witness Just How Brilliant I Am.

Conceptual artists reach bottom of barrel. Omar Kholeif swoons.

Some readers may recall the ICA’s Publicness exhibition of 2003, which - in ways never quite specified - “interrogated globalisation” and “notions of the public realm.” The exhibition’s four-page press release promised the thrill of “proposals for projects that may never be realised.” In other words, the artists were so heady in their conceptualism they could short-circuit the tiresome business of actually making or finishing anything and could instead be acclaimed, and paid, simply for airing “proposals.” One almost had to admire the efficiency. After all, it saved everyone – especially the artists – a great deal of time and trouble. Though you can’t help wondering how the artists would have felt had the audience adopted a similar approach to visiting the ICA: “Let’s not bother going and just pretend we did…”

The Crushing Patriarchy, Episode 12.

Bidisha sees “cultural femicide” everywhere. A “woman-free world” will soon be upon us. 

Note the assumption that “gender balance” is the natural default in all spheres of activity and thus any deviation from gender parity is evidence of systemic discrimination or some other injustice to be corrected. One wonders, then, what Mr Lawson and Bidisha make of other areas of endeavour such as elite chess tournaments, where criteria and performance are sharply defined and where men outnumber women by about 100:1. Now it’s possible that unfair discrimination may be a factor among any number of variables but the existence of such can’t be determined just from the ratio of male and female players. Whether or not meritocratic selection has been achieved can’t be deduced from whether gender parity results, since we have no basis, except ideology, on which to say that gender parity should be the meritocratic outcome. The assumption of a ‘natural’ 1:1 gender ratio in all occupations is itself a prejudice, albeit a modish one. On what basis do we determine that there ought to be a particular ratio of male and female philosophers, or mathematicians, or engineers? At what point and on what basis do we determine that a particular gender is sufficiently “represented” in a given vocation?

Go Barefoot for Gaia.

Ecological insight from the sculptor Antony Gormley.

“Dispense with your socks,” says he. “This is a time of global warming. Through our feet we can begin to feel it.” This is no doubt because “our feet connect with our brains” and “engage with time.” And what’s more, “through our feet we can begin to be one people, standing through gravity on one Earth.” Yes, standing through gravity, united in our socklessness.

Ruminate more fully in the greatest hits.  



"This is no doubt because “our feet connect with our brains” and “engage with time.”"

Thanks for the reposting Antony Gormley and his 'curious toes'. ;D

Jonathan Apps

I don't like to post smarmy comments on blogs in general, but this blog rules, pure and simple. Keep it up.

Nate Whilk

Re the art: have you ever heard "Saturday Night Fry", the short BBC radio series that Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and other did? On one episode they did a send-up of modern art. An excerpt:

Hugh Laurie: (on location) We're in front of some cutlery here entitled simply, "International Place Setting with Extra Butter Knife."
Hugh Laurie: Thank you. I also couldn't help noticing that each of the edges of the knives has printed on it "Firth and Sons, Sheffield, stainless steel, dishwasher-proof".

Medusa Stoppit [artist]: That's right. In a very real sense they were the makers of the instruments.

Hugh Laurie: I see. You commissioned the canteen of cutlery from them to your own design.

Medusa Stoppit: Well, I bought the set from Peter Jones, actually.

Hugh Laurie: Peter Jones the department store in Sloane Square?

Medusa Stoppit: No, Peter Jones the actor and "Just A Minute" star. Yes, of course, the department store.

Hugh Laurie: But I thought you were responsible for the actual manufacture and design.

Medusa Stoppit: I'm an ARTIST! It would take years to learn the skills involved in cutling. I haven't got the time between private viewings and press interviews to start acquiring vulgar skills. That's for ARTISANS. I BOUGHT the cutlery. Surely that's enough. If YOU had selected it it would've remained cutlery! As it is, I bought it and it's become, as you can see, something remorselessly OTHER!


Let's hope Gormley actually practises what he wibbles, he'll lose his toes in no time. A timely reality check for a credulous warmist.


So the barefoot fellow and the Vibram FiveFingers link did put me in mind of a study I glanced over in the "most important discoveries of the year" issue of science: Apparently humans run better while barefoot, at least in terms of overall body performance. Not so much on the "stepping on random stuff in the middle of a stride and bouncing around howling like a wounded animal" front, though.

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