The Knitted Testament (from Ship of Fools)
Is it any surprise that The Blake Prize for Religious Art accepted an entry by journalists masquerading as artists? Sydney Morning Herald journalists Lenny Ann Low and Jenny Tabakoff created Our Last Supper and it was selected alongside 359 other entries for the tepid annual prize exhibition held at the National Art School.
In a Herald article published on 7 September 2006, Low details the experience of making work for the Blake, asking the almost ye-olde-worlde philosophical question: "what happens when you have an idea and realise that art is the only way out?" For starters, I'm sure non-artists have this problem all the time. The lady who works at the school canteen suddenly has an idea and she thinks, "Fuck me dead if I can't make some art out of it!" It seems to me Low and Tabakoff are really just demonstrating to the world at large that anyone can be an artist these days, despite Low claiming in a fairly reductive fashion that:
"What some people consider a masterpiece is merely an indistinct scribble or a pile of clay to others. Then there are those who appreciate art, but lack the confidence to give it a go. Art, most people think, is something only artists do: it requires innate talent and years of training. If you have neither, it's hard to believe you can create art worthy of the name."
I long for the day when people start looking at contemporary journalism and say, "My child could write that!" They don't get called "hacks" for nothing. But that's beside the point because if Low and Tabakoff think they're hot shit because they got into the Blake Prize, then they are seriously deluded. Low asks in her article: "Could we concoct a work of art that anyone would take seriously?" And the answer, Lenny, would be no. That's because no one in the artworld takes the Blake Prize seriously. Yes, Artswipe did a psychic survey and everyone in the artworld agrees.
If the Blake judges were really that serious when they selected something like Our Last Supper, which Low and Tabakoff constructed out of their collection of "quirky knitted dolls," then they don't realise that knitted shit in contemporary art post-Mike Kelley is a big fat cliché. When I typed "knitted last supper" in Google Images, the results show a better range of images than what Low and Tabakoff produced. The reason they're interesting is because they highlight how religious art is only good for one thing: kitsch.