What in cre­ation is so im­por­tant about art?

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

WARN­ING, philis­tine alert! Nar­ra­tor and in­ter­viewer An­drew Frost uses this first episode of his sec­ond se­ries about art to ask im­por­tant and ever so arty ques­tions about what art is and what artists do.

If you think art is about beau­ti­ful ob­jects and in­ter­est­ing ideas cre­ated by peo­ple who ex­press them­selves through their durable cre­ations, well, what a duf­fer you are, be­cause art is about chal­leng­ing the or­tho­dox and ex­plor­ing al­ter­na­tive iden­ti­ties, and so forth and so on.

Like the woman who flies to Paris so she can walk around the city with a sign an­nounc­ing she is an artist as a com­ment on the pre­ten­sion of the artis­tic life.

And the bloke who spends eight hours on a ten­nis court where he serves a ball, shouts: ‘‘ Come on!’’, Lleyton He­witt-like, then walks around the net and does it again. One of his other per­for­mances con­sisted of him slap­ping his face for 45 min­utes. Ap­par­ently there is a strong po­lit­i­cal edge to his art.

Then there is the mul­ti­me­dia cre­ator who was in­spired by the re­al­i­sa­tion that ‘‘ Je­sus died at 33, but so did Bon Scott’’. Her work ‘‘ is about be­ing big­ger than who you are,’’ she says. Ev­ery­body clear on the artis­tic en­deav­our in that?

The show also fea­tures peo­ple who con­form to more old-fash­ioned ideas of art.

There is a painter who pro­duces hun­dreds of self-por­traits us­ing his ex­pe­ri­ences for in­spi­ra­tion. There is also an art aca­demic who talks about Al­bert Tucker.

But mostly it fo­cuses on peo­ple who are artists be­cause they say they

Knows what he likes: Art critic and pre­sen­ter An­drew Frost are and be­cause other peo­ple be­lieve them. Fair enough, too; there are no state-spec­i­fied com­pe­ten­cies artists must have.

But old-fash­ioned ideas that art can be seen and ap­pre­ci­ated through time, that it has en­dur­ing in­ter­est and is meant to ap­peal to more peo­ple than the cre­ator have no place in this pro­gram.

It all sounds plau­si­ble when pre­sented by Frost, but it is hard to imag­ine many peo­ple want­ing to view the works fea­tured in this pro­gram. And sorry but, bore that I am, I can’t help won­der­ing who is pay­ing the man who ex­presses him­self in a serve-a-thon.

Of course there is al­ways the pos­si­bil­ity this pro­gram it­self is a work of art, an ironic yet play­ful com­ment on the mul­ti­ple mean­ings of art com­men­tary and the power we in­vest in any­body who can talk about the­ory and prac­tice with a straight face.

Then again, per­haps we are sup­posed to pay at­ten­tion to what Frost says be­cause, well, he’s a critic.

Af­ter all, not only does he know a lot about art, he knows what he likes.

Stephen Match­ett

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.