The Great RR debate....... contd.

Are Conceptual Artists:

  • Pretentious, unremarkable and boring

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm still not sure, I need to see more

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I don't get Art

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • You've convinced me that it's not all crap.....but!

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


War Hero
Well the poll reveals that 62% of RR members who voted here: LINK believe that Conceptual Artists are pretentious, unremarkable, talentless and boring while 37% believe that they are gifted and challenging the boundaries (don't ask where the missing 1% went, I don't know)

For those who feel strongly about either position now is your chance to sway the opinion, we will have another vote in a week or so to see if the weight of opinion has swayed.

A quick reminder of the rules: Everyone gets just one post to argue their side of the debate (I will delete any duplication etc just to ensure fairness, you will be allowed to edit your argument once only!) Simple; edit it more than once and I delete it, reply to your own argument and I delete it, add to your argument later in the thread and I delete it, lets try and keep the thread on track in the manner of a formal debate, there are other threads in the forums to argue in ^~

Off we go then, the question: Are Conceptual Artists pretentious, unremarkable, talentless and boring or gifted and challenging the boundaries of Art. (In one post)

Edited (only once!) to add: I will add a poll in this thread once there are sufficient viewpoints to sway opinion.


War Hero
As I have absolutely no intention of remaining neutral in this debate I should make my position clear and perhaps offer a starting point. I love Art, it took me a long time to realise why and in that time I have taken some serious stick from my mates for spending silly money on paintings, sculpture, prints and artist's memorabilia. The reason I like Art so much is that it makes me think, I don't have a creative bone in my body and I admire those who do, anybody who can take me beyond the analytical and logical way my mind works is worthy of my respect.

To my mind there are two types of Art: that which you can admire for the pure skill and talent required to recreate a real world image and the type which appears to require little skill but makes you ask why? Both are as worthy as the other although the latter seems to take more criticism than the other.

I have two favourite paintings, the first is "Deposition" by Van Der Weyden and hangs in the Prado, it the single most stunning image I have ever seen, the talent required to produce it is beyond belief, the image actually appears almost three dimensional as if it were carved from wood, in its day it was probably the most expensive painting ever painted because of the quality of paint required to reproduce the red and blue, it is stunning. LINK
The second is Guernica by Picasso, I love this for its imagery especially the tortured expression of the horse and the image it creates in your mind of the carnage cause by blanket bombing, yet not a drop of blood is illustrated on the canvas LINK

The difference between these two paintings is that you could admire the first purely for its beauty, whilst the other requires some understanding of the subject in order to get the message. That is ultimately the difference between "conventional and acceptable art" and "alternative art"

My point then, look beyond the imagery. When you see Professor Tracey Emin's "The Bed" or "Everyone I have ever slept with" remember the piece itself is irrelevant, it is the image conjured by your own mind and the reflection that it creates which is the point.
On the sculpture front I like these works...

Tähystäjä (The Watchman)
by the Finnish sculptor: Ukri Merikanto (the son of the composer Aarre Merikanto, whose dissonent music is stunning)

Kallioaurinko (The Rock Sun)
by Matti Peltokangas

And his Kehrä...

I love works like these at one level, Beuys at another level and Caro at another. Why do I like these works? I share Chieftiff's enjoyment of trying to interpret art generally and sculpture in particular (because of it's tactile qualities) and the way different lighting condition alter the way you see and feel about the work. Merikanto mainly works in granite and his work can admired in art galleries, shopping centres and other public spaces. Tähystäjä should be viewed from many different angles. Viewing it at ground level (literally lying on the grass) it resembles a surfer or a boatsman though where you lie in the grass influences how you feel about it. The works by Peltokangas allow you run your hands along the work and feel the texture of the stone and the notice the way the grooves are cut and the slight differences between each. You can observe how the shadows can make the work seem more organic, despite being cut in stone. Kehrä reminds me of the unicellular plant Volvox, being both elegantly contructed, functional and simple, yet exquisite and fascinating to observe (through a microscope).

Beuys work allows you to visualise situations in which the sculpture might arise in the natural world, or in his glass fronted cabinets containing ordinary objects from another era, a time capsule, to feel that you are looking in on that era and then look at similar objects in the context of when they were designed, where and the artist's conceptual view, which you may or may not share.

My favourite works by Caro are those which remind me of obsolete industrial machines, decaying in disused factories, where you try to discover the "utility" of the sculpture. I think it would display Caro and John Piper's watercolours beside each other to juxtapose the obsolete machines with his paintings of decaying buildings During his life, Piper was very accessible. You could visit his studio and discuss his work. My interest at the time arose because of my admiration for his cartoons for the stained glass windows in College Chapel (at Eton) which compliment the fine work by the Irish artist Evie Hone.

I could add a lot more and discuss my collection of watercolours (some in storage), etchings (mostly from Norway) and small glass sculptural works I own which adorn my Ercol display cabinets (works of art in themselves), but space does not permit it. As you can gather, I prefer conceptual art more than representational art. My collection reflects my tastes.
I voted for unremarkable, talentless and boring , as you did not have a 'total bunch of to55ers who should be placed in an air tight glass box and put on exhibit as living art, well that is until they all die and have finished decomposing, then it can be a study into death' Option

Does that idea make me a conceptual artist?????? and how much will someone pay me for the exhibit?????
In your first forum we said:

NotmeChief wrote:
I think the question in the poll is wrong.

Gifted - certainly
Talentless - definately not
Pretentious - probably (but I don't know any)
challenging the boundaries - maybe
unremarkable - sometimes remarkable

In view of that, I can't respond to the poll

Some of it's shit, some of it is brilliant

The question can't be wrong! It is subjective to enable the answer to be debatable, that's the point. "There's no such thing as a bad question...............etc etc

Your answer would suggest that you disagree with the generalised remark, I do however get the point, have added a "sitting on the fence" option
It all has to come down to what is art, conseptual or otherwise.

Paintings, Constable great, they adorn any wall they are placed on - Picasso total shit, I have seen better on the walls of nurseries and fridge doors.

I love the pavement paintings where they are made to look 3d, that shows talent, but a matress with piss stains, I saw a few of those when I moved into married quarters, and they didn't thrill me at all.

I can't just say that it is crap as some of it is so creative and well done that you have to admire it while others are obviously ment to just shock and get a mention in the third rate tabloids.

I can't sit on the fence either as that wouldn't allow me to admire any of it, which I do.

I am having to do my one edit now. (Maybe a bit unfair as someone might say or show something that could change my mind in a later post).

I have looked at the link of Picasso and the first impression is 'shit'. Then I think why did he see things that way, was he retarded, nothing appears like that in real life, so why has he distorted it.
If he was in fact mentally limited, then I have to give him some applaud for at least trying and puting down what he really saw. But if he was of sound mind then I have to revert to my earlier impression of - 'shit'.

I hope I don't think of something else later as I have had my edit.


War Hero
NotmeChief said:
I have looked at the link of Picasso and the first impression is 'shit'. Then I think why did he see things that way, was he retarded, nothing appears like that in real life, so why has he distorted it.
If he was in fact mentally limited, then I have to give him some applaud for at least trying and puting down what he really saw. But if he was of sound mind then I have to revert to my earlier impression of - 'shit'.

I hope I don't think of something else later as I have had my edit.
You could have got away with it, I have no idea how many times you edit a post unless someone (like me) posts after you :dwarf:

He wasn't retarded, in fact he was an incredibly talented conventional artist, try looking at "the blue period"

or his early sketches

There's more to Picasso than meets the eye, I have a five foot print of Guernica in my stairwell (the original is about 30' - 40'and stunning) I look at it everyday and it still moves me, but it the sheer scale of the original that truly puts the picture in context.

Edited to add, I agree about the unfairness, in fact bollox forget the one post rule as I just broke it but keep it as a debate rather than an argument :w00t:

Also Steve, that is some amazing sculpture, the granite pieces are stunning.


Lantern Swinger
I have always been rather partial to Lichtenstein & Pollock, though I always try to understand how the artist came to their current form of artwork. Anyone can make modern art, but I think it is important that they can actually draw or paint well first as that is the basic definition of an artist. Once they have mastered that, rule bending & thinking outside the canvas can & should come later.

I imagine the average Jack could & does produce fine masterpieces most Saturday nights composed of kebab pieces & mixed beverage. It’s a pity no-one has considered leaving an exhibit in the Tate modern for the great British public to admire. I’m sure the Dada enthusiasts would have a field day.

I also quite like that fellow who leaves artistic graffiti around London, though his name escapes me for the moment. Some consider graffiti a crime & it certainly is when used by vagabond gangs as a crude attempt of tag advertising. But this chap, whoever he is, manages to create quite interesting images around the capital. I suppose I also admire him for being a bit of a rebel & daring to deface the cash machines of modern, bureaucratic, society. As long as his artwork stays on the sides of banks & other monotonous buildings I’ll tolerate him.

I remain &tc,

Henry Moore was a great sculpter who started with large rotund blocks of stone or bronze. These in later periods developed holes in them, and towards his death the holes completely enveloped the complete sculpture. This made him more money but created difficulties for the viewing public,and also for the people transporting these fine works of art around the country as they often couldnt tell if they had left the work behind or not :dwarf: Henry Moore
I think art as in something created by someone is in the same
concept as ''beauty is in the eyes of the beholder'

You either like it or dislike it.

As for picasso especially the guernica work does not really impress me
in fact it reminds me of something that was probably 'created ' by someone on a trip!! The Spanish Civil war and its horrors could possibly have been portrayed better .Although there is work of picasso that I do admire I cannot see any real reason for the enormous sums paid for his works.

Art dealers probably make a very comfortable living for proclaiming their
wares and convincing the unwary of the beauty of art . However I would class most pieces as 'novel' and with the prices of metal recently the non ferrous items would possibly be worth more as scrap!

:nemo: :nemo:
Two of the interesting presentations of art I have enjoyed are in the links below. One depicts life the other I interpret as eternity and infinity, both , to me , are fascinating and thought provoking. The other link is connected to Aboriginal ' dot painting ' a primitive form of art but perhaps not so primitive when considering ' pixels ' in modern terms. The Aboriginals also did a form of ' X-ray ' painting with skeleton forms, also very interesting.
The tribal art reminds me of some sand pictures my mother bought from an Indian settlement in the USA (which cost £50 each back in 1976). We were staying with friends (the husband, Doug Balcombe, had worked at Los Alamos but was then working as Head of Solar research in New Mexico: solar heated houses in kit form, with some local Indian settlements so were were able to visit one. The sand pictures, which took days to make, would be used to heal a sick person. They believed that the sand picture absorbed the evil spirits. The picture which the sick person had been lying on would then be burned. It was staying with the Balcombe's that first made me interested (at the age of 13) in modern art and architecture.
Ok from just the few things I have seen, I have made up my mind and now I'm now going to cast a vote of 'talented'. I can always ignore the ones I don't like.

I love this so much I want to see it again.


That's what I call art - clever thinking, humours (not that all art has to be humours) and high quality.


War Hero
Art truely is in the eye of the beholder, Chieftiffs second me was a stunning painting, it really did leap out and was almost 3D, the third link was pants.

Each to there own, banksy is very witty and irrelevant, yet important, I haven't figured out why yet but he is.

My favourite painting...I can't tell you the name or the artist..but it shows a young thruster going off to war saying his final goodbye to his missus. That says it all really to me, art is what you interpret from it.
Oh b*gger, I agree with WB, it is all down to the beholder, no one is right or wrong, just holding their own little place in the space/time continuum. Personally I am not really into this conceptual stuff, my mind doesnt seem to work that way, though I do find the sculture piccies that Thingy posted attractive, not because they represent something, but just they are pleasing shapes to me.

Like many things there is a lot of pretentious drivel on the subject of art, a lot of snobbery, and a lot of emperors with new clothes.

If you like it great, if you don't so what.


War Hero
Well, there are a few opinions now and some examples so I have added a poll with a couple more options, feel free to comment or just vote.
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