Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea.

alex hartley installation at the fruitmarket gallery

on saturday i decided to take advantage of the good weather and go round the galleries in town. i always enjoy this during the festival since there is such a great atmosphere in town. i must confess that my 4 years at glasgow school of art have left me with a very low bullshit threshold so i don’t really ‘do galleries’ as often as i should but every once in a while it’s nice to get out there and brave the white cube.

i eased myself in gently with a nice bit of william blake at the nation gallery. or at least as nice as hellfire and anguish ever gets… the blakes were lovely to see in the flesh – so detailed, and so much smaller than i expected – but the unexpected treat was a section of the exhibitions showing artists who had either inspired or been inspired by blake. there was an illustration from the tempest etched by i p simon based on a painting by henry fuseli in this part that i just loved to death, but can’t seem to find anywhere online…

next i went through the various contemporary and modern galleries. i should say here that i’ve not made it to the warhol show yet but i’m planning to make it very soon.

a guy i know used to say that if you went up to every girl in a nightclub and said ‘fancy a shag’ for every ten slaps you got at least one would say ‘ok’ – it’s much the same with the ‘contemporary’ cooler-than-thou galleries. most of what i saw was either a total pile of art-wank crap or just not my thing, but there was thankfully one gem of a show by alex hartley in the fruitmarket gallery. hartley’s work was roughly split into two areas – large photographic works, often doctored with sculptural elements added, and large installation pieces. the photos left me cold i must admit, but the intallations i could have looked at all day. they consisted of huge frosted perspex boxes mounted flush into the gallery wall with lighting behind illuminating muzzy minimalist architectural spaces. the effect was a sort of tranquil modernist trump loeil. they had a zen-like quality as well as just being visually very appealing. i want one in my house!

after that i demonstrated my true ‘contemporary’ esprit de times and went for a big fat starbucks.

so, all in all not a bad day out!


2 thoughts on “Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea.

  1. I visited the Art Gallery of NSW recently. My 4 yr old made my head spin with his hands-behind-his-back little-boy/old-man inspection of a wonderful exhibition of lithographs.

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