“but it’s art, m’lud”

It might start off being a bit of fun, but.. And, speaking of artistic endeavours, at the Guardian’s Commentisfree blog Tim Footman has a modest proposal

Perhaps those who enter a plea of “but it’s art, m’lud” ought to be tried, not by a conventional judge and jury, but by a panel of critics and academics.

However, this must not be an easy option; these art courts would be able to impose sanctions as draconian as those available in the regular system. Bad art should be punished with the same ferocity as bad behaviour. Artists who elect to be tried on the merits or otherwise of their work might like to recall the fate of Cinna, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Mistaken for his namesake, one of Caesar’s assassins, Cinna pleads that he is a mere poet; the mob’s verdict is to “tear him for his bad verses”.

And how wonderful it would be to have some ne’er-do-well windily claiming aesthetic justification for his latest outrage, only to find, peering out from beneath the judicial wig, the withering gaze of Brian Sewell.

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  • Steve

    Yeah but pete have you seen what passes for “good” art?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Well we just had an example of bad and rather vacuous art recently selling for over £100 million. They were the works of Damien Hirst of course; while some of his pieces are quite attractive in appearance, they essentially say nothing! A dead Shark, a dead sheep, butterflies stuck to a gloss paint canvas….The billionaire goons with more money than sense or an appreciation of ‘good’ art believe in the hype and are more than willing to spend enormous amounts of money on such pieces. All summed up beautifully by the great art critic Robert Hughes in a progamme ‘The Mona Lisa Curse shown on C4 last Sunday!

    The murals of NI, ugly as they were with their sinister messages and dipictions of terrorists said far more!

  • ParallaxCo

    Or what about Michael Stone’s performance art at Stormont. Cant wait to hear what ex arts council judge Donal Deeny rules on that.

  • aquifer

    Sounds like a great idea, and it would focus attention on the good stuff. Too often public art works get built that few other artists could bring themselves to defend. Such jury service would have to be made mandatory though, or outside juries brought in, as in wee Northern Ireland few artists will volunteer to criticise their peers.

  • Cressida

    My favorite was the gut who both the frozen blood as art and put it in his freezer not realising that it was not strong enough to store the blood and it had to be thrown out after thawing.