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The Turner prize, a major Art award in Britain was one yesterday by a bloke whose piece of work was an entirely empty room in the gallery, in which the lights went on and off every so often. He won 20,000 pounds and his work sells at 10,000 a time.

I live in a house where the lights go on and off at the flick of a switch...do I win a prize? Am I an artisic genius? (Nah.)

His Art is apparantly 'minimalist'. His previous work includes a scrunched up piece of paper and a piece of blu-tack stuck to a wall.

I failed my GCSE Art exam enitrely, but if I had stuck some blu-tack on the wall I doubt I would have fared any better.

My arguement is that such stuff is bollocks. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

A con. Who would pays thousands for a piece of blu tack on a wall??? What kind of person?!

Compare the talent, the imagination and the vision of the impressionists, with such crap current work. No contest. Its an insult to call it Art.

Throw it in the bin! <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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Well, Chris Ba, that work of art you described certainly sounds like it's a load of crap...even if it wasn't made with crap...which some "art" is actually made of.

It reminds me of some art I've seen made with piss. One was a piece I saw at the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh. I visited the museum a few years ago. Some of the stuff was good. Some of it was...well...interesting.

There was an exhibit or video of this Japanese artist named Moriko Mori and all it was was a video of herself dressed up in foil-y colored clothing playing with some ball and singing some really annoying screechy song with chimes and electrical synthesized sounds.

Let's put it this way: One guy actually went bonkers, put his hands to his head, screamed "I can't take it anymore!" and ran out of the museum.

Oh yeah, let me state that I also did very poorly in art exams.
 

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The Turner prize is such a joke <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

Did you see any of the other nominees ?

The most interesting thing about the evening from what I gather was Madonna's speech.
 

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I know what you mean, but many of the Impressionists were riduculed when their work came out. It's often hard to see at the time work that will be remembered well and paid millions for years down the line that are considered laughable at the time they are made. Part of being a "great" artist I guess is doing something new or revolutionary at the time, but you don't really know what will fall into this category until a long time after it's finished. I've had some empty rooms before, but I never thought of painting them white with lights that go on and off! That seems like a strange exhibition, but I guess we're supposed to see that art isn't limited to a canvas or something and that a simple room with lights that go on and off is something deep. Deep what I'm not really sure! I do like to stare at Mondrian paintings and somehow I do end up liking them, but, really, all it was was a bunch of asymetrical boxes with some primary colors. On the other hand, many High Renaissance paintings are simply persepective paintings that anyone with any engineering knowledge could have done to make the 3-D picture boxes that were so popular. Given that, I wouldn't pay for anything like an empty room with lights that go on and off. Art is a tough thing to judge, though I know little about it. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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I agree, Chris. Modern Art is one of the biggest con jobs in history.

When I went to the Hirschorn Museum in Washington, DC, I nearly split a gut laughing.

"What care I<br />What Art it be<br />If it be<br />Not Art to me?"
 

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Yes, it's a load of crap IMO, most of it at least.

I am not an art lover at all, but I can appreciate real art work, like real painters and stuff, although I don't line watching to a point, I can see the ability of painters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh or Da Vinci, I think it's amazing how they can create with a brush and paint.

But modern art??? pffff. I went the the Art Gallery of Ontario, most of the stuff were ok (boring but ok), normal paints where you see normal things, like landscapes or portraits.

But there was an are, pleeeezzzz, one work was named "A circle on a wall", that was it, a bloody circle on a blody wall, is that art? LMAO

I read in a newspaper about an artists, whose work was to ejaculate in different bottles, and then freeze them, that would be his art.

I think some of those are really pathetic, and more pathetic are those who pay a fortune for that, just somebody told them "look budy, this is art, you must like it", and they had to...

<img src="tongue.gif" border="0">
 

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I don't get it either! But you can't ask the artist, cause the artist will say it's not up to him to explain.<br />I understand people feel the need to express themselves, and if it is by making such crap, so be it. But I'm not going to pay loads of money to see it, or to have it.<br />A couple of months ago there was this whole issue over here about a mussles pot. Basically it was a pot with dried mussles. It was going to be sold to some museum abroad and they just couldn't let that happen. They paid millions to keep 'that piece of art' in this country! Pfff! <br />A friend of ours once gave us a rosary of dried mussles when she visited (others would gave flowers or chocolates), my mother put it on top of our mussles pot and it's now standing on our cupboard. And every time someone asks, we say it's worth millions! <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

Also, a couple of months ago an artist had made a 'kak-machine'. You put food in it and out of the other end comes....you get my meaning. And this is art, people! Absolutely disgusting, but they call it art. Imagine having that thing in your living room?
 

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I don't understand a thing about modern art...don't even know if you can call it art...they throw a can of paint against a wall and it's art.

Tine, I think it was really terrible that they paid that much for a stupid pot of mussles!! Other people are suffering, starving, and then they pay so much for something stupid like that..<br />Action 'Save the musslepot' jeez...now you can admire the think in SMAK...how great <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
 

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You know Chris, I used to think the same thing... you know the "any kid could paint this" or "my dog leaves dirty spots that resemble that" <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> - then I went to a Modern art Museum (in Brussels) and I have to say there *is* something about modern/contemporary art. I felt something visiting that museum, I think the art before, such as the impressionists, had a bigger impact on your eye-sight, it was visually pleasing, and we are very dominated by that sense... I think the "newer" forms of art try to impact other senses, so is maybe not visually beautiful, but there is an underlying something. I quite enjoy modern art now too <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0">

Now, if you ask me, would I rather have a Monet hanging from the wall or one of those on and off lights, you know which I'd rather have. I can do the on and off myself or ask my cousin to decorate the walls for free and keep the Monet <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

It is a bunch of crap if you only "look" at it I guess <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0"> <font size=1>

[ December 11, 2001: Message edited by: Gallofa ]</p>
 

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Isn't the phrase 'contemporary' art a bit of a generalisation? There's good music and bad music, whether we're talking classical, pop or rock. There's good and bad literature from all eras. And there's good and bad art, regardless of whether it's 'contemporary' or not. I think Martin Creed's work was particularly poor - in fact I don't think the Turner Prize shortlist as a whole this year was up to scratch - but there are great examples of 'contemporary' art which it could be argued that 'anyone' could do. Tracey Emin's 'My Bed': anyone can shove their dirty bed into an art gallery, but Emin's work - which wasn't just the bed - was extremely moving. You could argue that Mark Rothko's work is just sqaures of colour - but they're absolutely gorgeous, hypnotic even. The controversial Myra Hindley portrait out of children's hands - that was stunning. Art's not about the technicalities, i.e. how well you can paint. Sure, you can be a brilliant painter - but if what you're painting is uninspired countryside scenery, it's still bad art. Compare it to music: Celine Dion is, technically, a far superior singer to Carole King. Yet who's the greater artist? In art, you or I may well be a superior painter than Sam Taylor-Wood (though I doubt it) - but she's the greater artist. Art should be thought-provoking, passionate and compelling: I'd say there's a huge amount of contemporary art which fits those descriptions. And Richard Creed's lightbulbs - yes, they're art. But they're not very good at all.
 

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The thing about modern art as opposed to "classical" art is that the classical art that has stood the test of time is the good stuff. There as an awful lot of crap painted in preceding centuries that we don't get to see because people worked out that it was crap and therefore didn't preserve it. With modern art that hasn't happened yet.

I went to the Tate Modern in London a few months ago, and it's true that about 80% of what was there was rubbish, but there was a certain amount of really good stuff.

What I would say about modern art, and especially the weird exhibits like Damien Hurst's dead cows is that you should see it before saying that it's rubbish. My boyfriend at the time had a real thing about Rothko who paints these huge canvases filled with just random blocks of colour. I thought it sounded like bollocks, saw various prints of his and thought they were bollocks but when I saw some of his stuff at the Tate Modern thought they were absolutely amazing.

What I'm trying to say is that of course some modern art (probably most modern art) is bollocks, just as most art produced in the 19th century was bollocks, you just have to keep an open mind and look for the good stuff.
 

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What a con job ..

His previous efforts include a piece of scrunched up paper and that won <img src="eek.gif" border="0"> LOL
 

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I'm no expert - more of a casual admirer - but contemporary art is all about it's context.<br />

If you say 'here is my piece of art which a room where the lights flick off every 5 seconds', you are asking the observer to examine that piece of work within it's own context as a piece of work, thtat of the artist, and that of you as the observer of the piece. What compelled or drove the artist to that work. What is the artist trying to say. What does the work tell me?

I've not seen the winning submission, but it sounds great (as I love installations). The scrunched up ball of paper was beautiful imo incidentally.

<br />I think a lot of contemporary art is... questionable, but there are some fantastic works and concepts out there.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A good benchmark for me, for whether something is art or not, is whether I could do it myself. I have less talent in that direction than you can even imagine, but I could do the blu-tack thing and many of his others. I could also come up with all kinds of my own surreal ideas for 'installations' Pretty much anyone could.

The key is that when we examine what the artist is trying to say, (as though the blue tack on the wall has some deep profound meaning that only the wise can detect) in the case of of Turner award winner I don't think he has anything to say, other than to marvel at how many people he fools with his stuff, and how much money he can get for his junk.

The Daily Mail (a paper I generally loathe) got it right today when they printed a series of pictures, some of genuine Turner Prize contenders, other they had just made up. Most of the time you can't tell the difference!

Im not saying every piece of art these days is crap, just that a heck of a lot of it is. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

[ December 11, 2001: Message edited by: Chris Ba ]</p>
 

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Chris you (and I for that matter), may not be able to tell the difference between something mocked-up by a Middle England Daily Mail reader and a comissioned artist, but that does not a 'con' artist make imo!

Unless there is something that is (either overtly or covertly) compelling you to create that piece of work, it isn't art. It's eye candy. That's a loaded proposition so I'll retract it (mildly) now.

The 'blu-tack on the wall' may jolly well have profound meaning! Why shouldn't it?

But of course then again it may not!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I think the Blu-Tack on the wall is just Blu-Tack on the wall. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

I have some Blu-Tack in a drawer and will listen to offers of £5000 upwards. I promise it has great significance. <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> <br />But telling you what its significance is, would tarnish my artistic vision. (cough) <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

I also have sellotape, and a ruler, pen and pencil. Will listen to offers.

The Emperor has no clothes! <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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hmm .. I think this piece of art has reached his main goal already - to make people, who don't normally, think about art and what it should or should not be - don't you think this is exactly the same reaction as Marcel Duchamps got on his ready mades? (and it's the reaction they both wanted)<br />that's one of the main goals of conceptual art<br />yeah, some modern art is crap and pointless .. but the same can be said about a lot of old art
 

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There was an article about this in The Guardian today. Very much expressing my opinion, so here it is:

Easy does it

When is a joke not a joke? When it wins the Turner<br /> Prize. Adrian Searle on the beauty of simplicity<br /> More arts news and features

Tuesday December 11, 2001<br /> The Guardian

Even people who don't much like Martin<br /> Creed's contribution to this year's Turner<br /> Prize will remember the frustrating<br /> enigma of standing in an otherwise<br /> empty space with the lights going on<br /> and off. They will recall being there.<br /> This, surely, is one of art's jobs: to<br /> make us aware of where we are, where<br /> we have been. But in the context of the<br /> Turner Prize, it only works theatrically;<br /> its resonances are reduced in Tate<br /> Britain. The enigma, if you like,<br /> becomes a gag.

"I could have done that," may be a typical response to Creed's<br /> work, just as it was for Carl Andre's Bricks, Bob Law's empty<br /> canvases with a little Biro line running around their perimeters,<br /> and all the other artworks that have not so much captured the<br /> public's imagination as poked fun at prejudice. The only<br /> response to "I could have done that" is "But you didn't". Did you<br /> have the gall, the nous, the ambition, the cheek? Maybe Creed<br /> wanted to give us a prolonged moment of expectation. Perhaps<br /> he gave no thought to the audience at all, and only made the<br /> work for the pleasure of standing in a room with the lights going<br /> on and off.

Some people, undoubtedly, are afraid - both of the feelings art<br /> provokes and of having their preconceptions of what art ought to<br /> be upset. They want meaning on a plate, served up the way it<br /> has always been. They often seem to want demonstrations of<br /> familiar skills. Provocation isn't the first aim of Creed's art - nor,<br /> I'd suggest, of much worthwhile art today. Doing the minimum<br /> possible to achieve the desired result is frequently regarded as a<br /> sign of clarity of thought - economy equals elegance, and<br /> simplicity virtue. We also crave complexity. Richness, of<br /> course, is not necessarily at odds with simplicity.

Last year I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about a<br /> work by US artist Tom Friedman, which consists of a ring of<br /> plastic drinking cups, using the smallest number of cups<br /> possible to close the ring to form a perfect circle. The more I<br /> thought about this, the more the associations piled up: from the<br /> manufacture of the cups themselves to the water-cooler culture<br /> of the office; the fact that the ring of cups on the floor was more<br /> beautiful and shimmering than I would have thought possible;<br /> that it looked like a sci-fi halo.

The associations kept on coming, both to other art and to all<br /> sorts of everyday experiences. Either I was deluded, or the<br /> apparent simplicity of the work really was deceptive. I prefer to<br /> believe the latter. Many of Friedman's works take an inordinate<br /> amount of painstaking work, often using ludicrous materials:<br /> tooth-picks, drinking-straw wrappers, pillow-stuffing, pubic hair,<br /> soap. Art can be made out of anything, even out of almost<br /> nothing. How long it took the artist to make the work hardly<br /> seems the point. A rainy afternoon would be enough to think of<br /> the plastic cup piece and to execute it; the point in Friedman's<br /> case is to be able to make another work, and then another, then<br /> another, without losing continuity, coherence and quality, and to<br /> be able to keep upping the ante and moving things forward.

This is a matter of seeing as much as doing: did Picasso spend<br /> much time thinking up his Bull's Head, the shaped leather bike<br /> seat as the head, the handlebars for horns? What counted was<br /> the quickness of Picasso's eye, recognising the analogous<br /> relationship in the first place while he was sorting through a pile<br /> of junk in his studio in 1943.

Duchamp's Fountain, his upturned urinal signed R Mutt on the<br /> porcelain, may not seem to demand much in the way of an act<br /> of looking, but the initial shock of its appearance in an art gallery<br /> has profoundly affected the art of the past 80-odd years.<br /> Actually, it does bear scrutiny as an object in all sorts of ways,<br /> not least because its silhouette has a certain resemblance to<br /> both painted and sculpted portraits of the Virgin, an association<br /> Duchamp himself was keenly aware of.

The concept of Fountain may be more important than the object,<br /> which Duchamp chose in part for its lack of aesthetic in terest,<br /> but it might also, as another title of his has it, be an object To<br /> Be Looked at With One Eye, Close to, for Almost an Hour. We<br /> might think the joke is on us, but what Duchamp was talking<br /> about was the nature and pleasure of looking. Being there, in<br /> other words.

It might have been good fun to have lined up to attend Yves<br /> Klein's Theatre of the Void, a play performed "on a non-stage<br /> setting with no actors, no scenery, no narrative, and no<br /> spectators", as Sidra Stich described it, but the pure idea, and a<br /> spoof newspaper for the day of the non-performance (Sunday<br /> November 27 1960), are the only record of the non-event, which<br /> probably took an enormous amount of planning to happen. Or<br /> rather, not to happen.

And while Frank Auerbach's paintings take years of sittings and<br /> reworkings, the final result can mean a total revision of the entire<br /> picture surface in less than an hour. Similarly, Luc Tuymans's<br /> paintings may be made and remade for weeks, but the final<br /> painting is always entirely worked in the course of a single day.<br /> None of this matters, except in terms of the artist's own<br /> practice.

Roman Signer is a well-respected Swiss artist who represented<br /> his country at the 1999 Venice Biennale, and who now has an<br /> exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre in London. It doesn't take<br /> long to get round - about as long, in fact, as it takes to walk the<br /> galleries and clock the gags he has set up. Persistent looking<br /> does not always reap greater rewards. Signer's works at<br /> Camden are minor entries to a long list of quickfire artistic<br /> gestures. Camden does not have him at his best - there are<br /> none of the real fireworks Signer is capable of generating. He<br /> doesn't hurl hotel furniture out of the window or entertain us with<br /> the explosions that have enlivened many of his "actions".

What takes time in Signer's show is all the contextualising and<br /> mental spade work that might make the art more interesting and<br /> rewarding than first acquaintance tells us it deserves. A<br /> squadron of model helicopters lined up in front of a Christmas<br /> tree-wrapping machine, from which they emerge, propellers<br /> folded like resting insects, cocooned in plastic netting; a trough<br /> of fine sand running the length of the gallery, along which the<br /> artist has skied, leaving the track of the skis, the pock-marks of<br /> the ski-poles. Sighing, I try to think appropriate thoughts: skiing<br /> as drawing, the tracks in the sand as a record of time, motion,<br /> action, the work as a record of its making. All of which is dreary,<br /> art school seminar stuff.

Personally, I pity the staff at Camden who have to endure a<br /> recording of the London Underground mantra "Mind the gap",<br /> amplified from under a standard pair of single beds, butted up<br /> like a fake double in a cheap hotel. This is extremely tedious, a<br /> nullity. The phrase "Mind the gap" has been picked up as a little<br /> London jewel by numerous foreign artists, curators and souvenir<br /> T-shirt buyers. Overwrought is the key word here, and it leaves<br /> you wishing for some of Martin Creed's brevity.

Creed's Lights Going On and Off will be remembered as much<br /> for winning as for its particular qualities, its time and place. A<br /> greater richness has to do with works slipping out of their time<br /> and circumstances, and having a longer, more complicated life.<br /> That is really how much time a work takes, otherwise it is<br /> nothing more than a footnote to the radical gesture.

· The Turner Prize is at Tate Britain, London SW1 (020-7887<br /> 8734), until January 20. Roman Signer is at Camden Arts<br /> Centre, London NW3 (020-7435 2643), until February 3.
 
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