When any ‘ordinary’ individual makes comments about modern art. Perhaps they’ll make fun of Tracey Emin’s unmade bed or fail to see the point of a Skull encrusted in diamonds, then art experts (whatever they are) tend to ignore the criticisms. There are of course many avant garde artists whom the vast majority of the public just don’t see the point of.
However sometimes, the criticism comes from within – when Julian Spalding starts to attack this scene then the rest of us can perhaps feel somewhat justified. This is no outsider, Julian Spalding is a former director of three of the biggest museums and galleries.
Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s ship in a bottle
His attack focuses mainly on the amount of money being spent on such art, which he claims ‘ rejoices in being incomprehensible to all but a few insiders.” This work is often funded by the public purse, which the arts council spending billions of lottery money over the years on some very dubious projects.
Did you know for instance that over half a million pounds was spent on Yinka Shonibare’s piece – Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle which was installed in Trafalgar square some years ago. Spalding himself described it as a ‘crassly designed piece……floating on a sea of public funding’. Other criticism was directed at ‘Creed’s ‘flickering light installation or Louw’s oranges both which were funded by the public purse for many thousands of pounds.
He claims that the public purse should not be invested in such art, public money should be invested in art that lasts, not this years expensive fad. He argues that such money should be spent on preserving and displaying art that will still be loved in years to come. It is not the place of the arts council to seek to direct art and pander to the intellectual snobbery among the art establishment.
Money from these sources could be utilized to make art more accessible. The Metropolitan Opera House in New York has used grants to produce screenings of their performances which can be seen worldwide. The BBC could replicate this for theatre productions with similar funding, as such their content although world class is restricted to the UK, you even need a special program called a proxy – explained here, to view their content from anywhere else.