I recently visited the Tate Modern.
I should say from the start I am aware that everything which follows is C for Cynical. I’m a simple man from the country. I don’t understand all this complicated modern art stuff. But I don’t want to be cynical! I didn’t choose to be ignorant, or from the country! Please, if you feel I’ve dealt an unjust blow to culture in what follows - set me straight!
(And secretly, if I’m in the right mood, I really like this stuff. I just think it can only be properly appreciated if it isn’t immune from criticism. Yeah.)
Ok. Here I am going to teach you how to do modern art. Guys: If you’ve got your shirt off and a paperclip on your ear we’ll begin. Girls: Don’t worry about it. The first step is to look at what’s already out there. Not to influence our work, but to educate it.
I love how these artists have discovered colour. It reminds me of waking up in the morning and opening my eyes.
Piece 1 - Poured Painting
Notice he was too embarrassed to actually sign it.
Tate Collection Poured Painting by Hermann Nitsch
This is one piece which is really genuinely complemented by its description. A small adjacent placard reads:
“Poured Painting was made by aggressively throwing bright red paint onto the canvas, evoking assocations of splattered and dripping blood.”
Just incase you didn’t know and were wanting to try and make one yourself at home. Turns out what you need is...let me just check...yup, you need a canvas and you need some red paint..
Associations of blood eh. Yes its a powerful painting which really grabs your emotions until you hardly feel in control. I don’t feel I should even apologise for publically falling on the floor laughing when I discovered this. Really good films have you leaving the cinema thinkin “I want to be a Jedi” or “I want to be a superhero”. Really bad modern art has you leaving thinking “I could be a modern artist!”
Piece 2 - Grey
Tate Collection Grey by Gerhard Richter
It says here...
“I don’t know what I want.”
I do. A proper job.
I cannot contain in words, no not in a thousand pictures, how much this piece has inspired me. I feel like it goes far beyond being merely ‘grey’ yes, into being truly ‘great’. It really propels the colour grey from an uninteresting component to a topic of conversation.
If it wasn’t for this picture I wouldn’t be writing this page.
Piece 3 - My Humble Efforts
‘Fingers on Wood’
A statement on the social makeup of Britain, early 21st Century. In one place you can see some fingers together, pushing, some apart. You cannot easily see the palm conjoining them all, only the wood, or the environment. The artist is saying that in a metropolitan context a united community needs more than just its environment to bridge the gaps between different social cultures.
Time to make: 5 seconds
In ‘Pipes and Curves’ the artist is trying to give a sense of what he sees as mundane machinery behind art.
Time to make: 10 seconds (camera button was stiff)
A white line. It speaks for itself. A must-have in pretentious art galleries £5,000,000 and £50 physics textbooks. Makes me wonder what I’m doing with my degree.
Time to make: 0 seconds. I accidentally fell backwards and pressed the camera button by accident. It took a picture of some overhead lighting.
A shoe on wood. The shoe evokes progress whilst the wood is unchanging. As a whole the piece reminds us of life’s journey.
Time to make: 10 seconds physically, a thousand years emotionally
Life’s journey does leave a mark on our environment. This could be anyone’s footprint because we all go on that journey. It is slightly mis-shapen.
Time to make: 2 seconds
Assuming a rate of £50 a piece, very reasonable I feel, adding all the times together and scaling them to an hour we can work out a modern artists hourly rate. Factoring in 6 seconds every minute for thinking about the next piece I get it at £30,000 an hour before tax.
Now its your turn.
Your mission should you choose to accept it is to produce a modern art portfolio from your Computer chair. Don’t forget pretentious descriptions for each piece. The key is to think of a description so pretentious that makes all your critics feel stupid.