Thursday, September 07, 2006

Knitted Shit

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.


Anonymous said...

I mean, after all, we all attend universities together for the same amount of time, sitting squashed in the same postmodernist lectures. My partner is a journalist and our major breaking-point arguments usually revolve around whose chosen occupation is the most socially viable, but hey... the make up sex is good.

Ian Milliss said...

SMH is basically in the entertainment industry and sees art as a form of entertainment. They started ages ago to use any available work experience journalists as art writers, why wouldn't they now diversify into using them to make the art. It's vertical integration, the media can make the art and cross promote it by reviewing it. It also saves on cabcharge, they needn't leave the office now.

I look forward to them opening the SMH Gallery so they can sell the art they make and review thus completing the whole process. It works for TV, why not for other forms of entertainment like art.

I also predict one of the big media conglomerates buying out the Sydney Biennale some time in the next few years.

mayhem said...

Hey artswipe!

love yer work !

( btw thanks for supportive posting on my suicide blog)

stay tuned for phill collins updates

and keep that shit coming

Skanky Jane said...

But You protest too much Artswiper! Everything knitted since Kelly is a cliche? The Art World doesn't take the Blake seriously ? Both my neighbour and my step-mother used to knit dolls like that for my daughter. Personally, I prefer them in an art gallery because they always scared me a bit - those women that knit dolls. This is making me laugh a lot - thanks for the link to the original article. SJ xx

lauren said...

i wish i read this article about 3 months ago when i got all excited to attend a 'contemporary knitting show' in the 'gong, only to find a crap load of crap shawls, baby's rugs, bad jumpers and one kinda cool pillow of a lady bug. now if i had been reminded that 'knitted shit in contemporary art post-mike kelley was a big fat cliché' i would have stayed home and watched the shopping channel instead!

and as for questioning contemporary journalism? i do it every time i fashion some kind of blog together! 'i write a blog, i'm a journalist aren't i? ha!

bring on a journalists/writers vs artists celebrity death match (or netball game at least) and see who wins!

Anonymous said...

the best 'knitted shit', artswipe, is a photo that appears in the inside tray of the album cover for sonic youth's 'dirty' album. in it you see the late performance artist bob flanagan and sheree rose humping knitted dolls - mike kelley took the pic and its pure scatalogical joissance!