This evening I went to an Art Show. A Contemporary Art Show. Get me. And I didn’t even take any smack. (Is that still a current stereotype? Everything I know about modern art I learnt from Tama Janowitz and the Velvet Underground…)
What I went to was Pace Gallery’s Here and There, an exhibition by renowned American artist Maya Lin. Didn’t have to show a ticket or anything, didn’t have to drop a name. Just wandered in off the street and got handed some free ruddy champers and some press materials. Jackpot!
(My girlfriend works in the trade, so I was there on her genuine merits, rather than any fake ones of my own.)
The art was all like 3D, silver reproductions of famous rivers (that looked quite good), pin reproductions of less famous rivers (that looked less good) and a brilliant marble topographical, to scale, sculpture of the Greenwich Meridian. Which was fantastic. But that was the art. Which doesn’t interest me. What interests me is the art scene.
The artist was there. I didn’t speak to her.
Most other people there fitted into one of two categories – rich-looking and young, or rich-looking and old. Everyone was thin. Except for the old, bald, men dressed in velvet. Everyone was dressed in dark colours, lots of leggings. My girlfriend bumped into someone she knew whose name she had forgotten, but I was able to guess it in one foul swoop based on her dress sense and accent. I’m a social facking satirist.
So… the contemporary art scene. What is it?
Well, for a start it’s boozy, very boozy. Lots of free Becks and fizzy wine circulating. No free food. Unless I missed it. As a man who schooled (ha ha ha, schooled) in Warwickshire, you’d think I’d be used to being surrounded by long As and country manners. I’m not. I’m urban nowadays. And, genuinely, the contemporary art I prefer is that with a more urban flair. Pace may be selling art that continues historic traits of fine silverworking and marble sculpting, but that says nothing to me.
Give me an artist with a spray can and an ASBO and I’m much more interested.
Maya Lin made the official Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. Need I emphasise her establishment credentials any more than that..?