Monday, April 12, 2010

Look on my works, ye arty, and despair

It worsens: the latest city to inflict awful sculpture upon itself is Dunedin, which should know better but has commissioned giant teeth from Regan Gentry. You see, Otago University has a dental school, which provides most of London's dentists and Mr Gentry had wisdom tooth problems when he was a student at Otago Polytechnic:
His time at the polytechnic which was marked with wisdom teeth problems, and Dunedin's geological history of eruptions, which reminded him of teeth erupting through gums, "all seemed to gel" for the work.
The teeth are designed to decay.That is how you do public sculpture: just think of something witty and not too demanding. Of course, there has been
criticism but Mr Gentry is a public artist and can deal with that: "You don't do it if you're a pussy." Other works by Mr Prentice include the frame of a building and some trees. Mr Gentry is represented by Whitespace, of course.

Call me a Modernist if you like (and you would be right) but I find myself longing for serious sculpture, objects with some meaning as art rather than merely enlarged imitations of reality and objectifications of such sentiments as "I make art for people in general and humour is a good tool to allow people access to the idea, which of course is always bigger than the one-liner." 

Once there was a time when oversized objects were the province of provincial towns, the product of people who knew nothing about art but knew what would bring the tourists in. Now, this sort of junk is made as art, because you cannot have anything shown in public which is elitist, avant-garde or too 'challenging'. Everywhere the landscape is blotted by huge things which are supposed to make us smile and make us think. Everywhere we must endure post-modern wit and relentless civic cheeriness, the municipal equivalent of garden gnomes. It all speaks to the people of course, because that is what artists like Mr Gentry and non-artists like Weta Workshop are all about: patting the little people on their heads.

She is cool in her studio, e-i addi, add-ee-o:

1 comment:

ColdFish said...

Goodness me, and I thought they were interesting and amusing and appealed to my aesthetic sense in some way. I'm so glad to have my errors of taste corrected.