Monday, August 27, 2012

New prospects in contemporary art

You just couldn’t make this up.

A new line has opened up in contemporary art…

Maybe it deserves a name, like The Power of Disfigured Art,

and a brief description, like the social relevance of the new contemporary art.

The disfigured fresco which I wrote about two days ago has now acquired an iconic status. According to reports, hundreds of visitors have been crowding into the little church to view it and express their admiration, forcing the little church to display it behind a security cordon. 

But, wisely, the little church has also set up a collection box, to swell its revenue from donations.

A petition has been signed by no less than 19,000 in less than two days, asking the authorities not to allow a group of experts to undo the “damage” that Cecilia Gimenez did to it in trying to restore it herself, which resulted in Christ looking like a monkey.

The story has gone viral on the internet. Many have tried to do similar “virtual” restorations on other iconic works of art.

The petition says that the Cecilia Gimenez’s restorative work has made of the painting “an intelligent reflection of the political and social conditions of our times” – a description that can hardly be bettered by the erudite descriptions that some in the art world attach to obscure pebbles and filing cabinets.

They see in the painting a “subtle critique of the creationist theories of the Church” and compare it in style to …wait for it… the works of Goya, Munch and Modigliani.

Well, a director of a contemporary art museum could not have asked for more.

As I said, a museum of contemporary art should acquire it now, while it is still (relatively) affordable, before it goes under the hammer at one of the world’s “prestige” auction houses (like the one which tried to sell (unsuccessfully) an empty canvas, describing it as one in which the painter had applied the seductive idea of nothing to a canvas, [which] asks the viewer to reflect” and its creator as “the most underestimated and overlooked minimal artist in Britain …[who] didn’t get the recognition that he deserved”.

Do such descriptions differ very much from the descriptions in the petition quoted above?

The great Cecilia Gimenez has surely convulsed the art world, and may yet find herself among the celebrated artists of our time.

This story may, just, be a wake-up call in the art world!

But I rather doubt it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

New item for a contemporary art museum

An interesting story hit the headlines this week - the attempt by a Spanish pensioner to restore a 19th century Spanish fresco depicting Christ.

The result was a disaster and, according to one newspaper, made Christ look like a monkey. Another commentator thought that he looked like he has just come out of a stag party.

The fresco is apparently not very valuable in money terms. That must be an opinion about its financial status before the disfigurment was revealed.

It has now become a great celebrity.

What to do with it? Leave it as it is or try to restore it again?

Well, I have an idea.

Take it as it now is to a museum of contemporary art and exhibit it along with all those filing cabinets, beach pebbles, etc, whose aim, we are patronisingly told, is to make us think about our relationship to the work of art exhibited.

What better to make one think in these terms than this disfigured fresco?

What is more, given its new celebrity, it is probably worth a lot more than many of the filing cabinets and beach pebbles exhibited at some art galleries.

If I were the director of one of these art galleries, I would snap up this "restored" fresco at once! It would probably be more effective in fulfilling the mission of (as some custodians of art think) of making us think, it will draw large crowds (rather larger than the ones who come to see new filing cabinets in the art gallery) and it will increase the financial status of the gallery.

Well, how about it?