David Thompson
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« Because We’re So Hungry for Modern Poetry | Main | Elsewhere (119) »

April 14, 2014

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Anna

Jeremy Deller and co could not be reached for comment.

David

Jeremy Deller and co could not be reached for comment.

Heh. There is a striking contrast. That said, while I marvel at the artists’ technique, I don’t think I’d want any of the work featured in the link above on the walls at home, even if I were inclined to have any art on the walls at home. But at least it’s obvious there’s talent there, an uncommon skill. Something someone might see as valuable and want to pay for, or travel to look at. Poking through the website of Art Across the City, discussed earlier, it’s hard to see evidence of any significant talent at all. There doesn’t seem to be much substance there to like or dislike. Just a hole where the talent should be.

Pitkin

Thank you introducing me to Gregory Thielker, a completely new name to me. What an astonishing work of art.

Nikw211

Hm.

The mental discipline as well as the skill required to reproduce that degree of verisimilitude in obsessive detail is undeniably impressive, awe-inspiring even.

Despite that, photorealism always leaves me a bit cold.

The majority of artists who do it always seem to have a preference for Athena-style Shutterstock photo library images – meaning all that skill and effort gets expended on generally forgettable kitschy images. Probably, there's some clever Walter Benjamin-ish reasoning for that choice.

If I want something pain-stakingly detailed I think I'd prefer a Meredith Frampton, a Richard Dadd, or a Holbein. Even if they are all dead.

Jeremy Deller and co could not be reached for comment.

[Fiendish chuckle]

David

Despite that, photorealism always leaves me a bit cold.

Same here. I’m impressed by the skill involved and can stare for some time, but I prefer something a little more evocative.

Nikw211

I prefer something a little more evocative.

Ah, yes, me too. I was just thinking how much the bookstore image reminded of production design paintings I'd seen for Bladerunner when sure enough there was a reason for that when I clicked on Michlap's link …

OT

If you haven't seen it already, I think this from the City Journal makes for extremely interesting reading.

David

Nikw211,

Heh. Was reading it this morning. My favourite line,

Critics also sniped at Chagnon for being, in Tierney’s description, “a free-market advocate.”

A sinner, obviously.

R. Sherman

Of course, these artists will be dismissed, talent notwithstanding, because there are no bodily fluids or genitalia involved in the production, coupled with angst ridden, self-declarations of rebellion.

AC1

Only once you can master the skill of accurately reproducing the world can you attempt to go beyond it.

David

Random tip for the day.

Do not attempt to move a five-foot euphorbia without protective gloves. Or a full hazmat suit. Or a flamethrower.

dicentra

HO-ly smoke that's a huge 'un.

If the stickers don't getcha, the milky sap will.

Franklin

Thanks to photographic assistance this kind of work is not quite as difficult as it might seem. It's just time- and labor-intensive. If you were willing to botch ten of them on the way to learning how to do it you could likely teach yourself.

The thing is, what you put in is craft. What you leave out is art. And in a lot of these there's so much craft that it crowds out the art.

Hal

Do not attempt to move a five-foot euphorbia without . . .

Actually, ehn, it's one of those tool using questions; Use a pallet jack or something that will equally isolate the physical area without need for direct contact . . .

David

If the stickers don’t getcha, the milky sap will.

I swear they bite. And then bleed acid on you.

present & correct

Agreeing with Franklin.
All skill and no art, makes Jack a dull boy... so to speak.

Doubting Rich

Interesting thought: if you wanted to fake a photograph in undetectable fashion, get one of these to paint the scene then photograph it. None of the problems of Photoshop.

OJ

I agree with some of those above who have pointed out that this kind of art takes less skill than one might imagine. Damien Hirst employs many people in his studios/factories to produce works like this; the workers are for the most part trained in the required techniques from scratch. It doesn't take long to learn.

The images linked to here are very clever but it's really a bit thoughtless to contrast them with Jeremy Deller's work – he's trying to achieve something else altogether. I'd also argue that you've missed your target a little by focusing on Deller in your previous post, David. I have a real dislike for most conceptual art but I find his work to be very worthwhile, since he makes artworks which resonates strongly with communities who are ordinarily shut out from mainstream art – I'm not sure how even the most cynical critic could write off something like his Manchester Procession or the Folk Archive.

David

OJ,

I’d also argue that you’ve missed your target a little by focusing on Deller in your previous post, David

I wasn’t attempting to weigh or dismiss Deller’s work in general and made no comment on it, though the little I’ve seen of it doesn’t impress me at all. I picked one specific piece, his billboard for Art Across the City, because of what it implies and how questionable that is, given the actual market for modern poetry. The belief that “everybody” could “do with” more of it, apparently irrespective of their own choices, is a little loaded and contentious.

OJ

I wasn’t attempting to weigh or dismiss Deller’s work in general ... I picked one specific piece, his billboard for Art Across the City, because of what it implies

That's fair enough – the billboard (or is it a mural?) certainly isn't one of his best pieces. However, I don't think it's nitpicky to point out that he's not asking for more modern poetry, just more poetry in general. It's worth noting that his piece is part of celebrations to mark 100 years since Dylan Thomas' birth – not a modern poet and certainly one with great popular appeal. Also, do you think it's possible that 'more poetry is needed' could be taken in broader sense, as a call for a less prosaic and ugly culture? I could certainly get behind that sentiment.

David

OJ,

I don’t think it’s nitpicky to point out that he’s not asking for more modern poetry, just more poetry in general.

Well, Deller’s piece is apparently associated with three contemporary writers and poets from the area. So my assumption was hardly perverse. And either way, the issue remains. Taken at face value, it’s rather like saying “people aren’t wearing enough hats.”

Also, do you think it’s possible that ‘more poetry is needed’ could be taken in broader sense, as a call for a less prosaic and ugly culture?

Heh. That would be the most flattering construal of an unattractive billboard that’s part of an art festival, which, judging by the works being publicised, isn’t exactly helping that particular cause.

OJ

You make a good point. That sculpture thing you linked to is particularly ugly and I doubt many of Swansea's residents appreciate it. William Morris, of whom Deller is apparently a fan, would be horrified. I think his famous golden rule could be adapted to "have nothing in your public spaces that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful".
Incidentally, you might appreciate the name architects have for this kind of useless and ugly civic sculpture (often mandatory in new developments): they refer to such things as 'The Turd on the Lawn'

David

Heh.

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