Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tennis racket with a green plastic frog on it

An exposé of twatism.
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Go to an art gallery full of "modern" art: the kind of stuff that oozes arrogance and contempt for its audience, like a brick with a fag butt resting on top, but on a plinth, in a big and otherwise empty room.

In this gallery, smuggle in the eponymous artefacts and place them on the floor in the biggest bit of space you can find, with the frog upon the racket. Then, with an air of smugness, stand respectfully away from it, contemplating its meaning for a while.

Once one person starts taking a look, leave.

Stand by the exit and conduct a survey of the people coming out, to see if anyone realised the "art" wasn't art at all, it was just a frog on a tennis racket.

theleopard, Jul 09 2013

Real vs Fake Mondrian Test http://www.guardian...sandhumanities.arts
I wonder if there's some mathmatical principle that might be applied to Mondrian that might describe those forms in a way that could identify good ones from bad. [zen_tom, Jul 09 2013]

http://www.turnipprize.com/ [pocmloc, Jul 09 2013]

Wikipedia: An Oak Tree http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Oak_Tree
Here's an example of some very obvious conceptual toss. [zen_tom, Jul 09 2013]

Tennis with little yellow chicks http://www.youtube....watch?v=4Zv9vRz4QYM
[pashute, Jul 10 2013]

YouTube: We're all twats https://www.youtube...watch?v=74gBfyy3MYY
[zen_tom, Jul 11 2013]

Wikipedia: Anti-anti-art (Stuckism) http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Anti-anti-art
A fairly concise view from outside these walls - Stuckism seems to pretty much provides a coherent voice for some of the themes under discussion here. [zen_tom, Jul 16 2013]

[link]






       I had a sort of opposite experience to this when I went to the Tate Modern a few years ago.

As I was wandering round I went through what looked like a room under construction. Ladders propped against the wall, half empty tins of paint on the floor, baskets full of discarded odds & ends etc. It was only when I got to the other side of the room that I noticed a small plaque which pointed out that the entire scene had been sculpted out of polystyrene by a couple of Swiss blokes.

Blimey! I thought and went back for another look. it was all incredibly detailed & realistic but was it art?

Anyhow, after inspecting it again I then stood back and watched the people just wandering through like I had done. Most of them failed to read or notice the plaque & so never knew what they had just seen. It was an interesting experience!
DrBob, Jul 09 2013
  

       Oddly enough, I have done this experiment. When I was young(er) I worked part time in Basingstoke Library (no comments, please). There was an exhibition of local art, held at the library.   

       Near my parents' house was a small injection moulding factory, and they had a dump at the back where they put all the rejects and waste. Amongst these were contorted blobs of extruded plastic, presumably produced when they cleaned out the injection moulders. I secured one of these blobs - about the size and shape of a glossy black cowpat, melted five ball-bearings into its surface, made a typed card for it (it was called "Where's number six?"), and hung it amongst the other artwork.   

       People stopped and looked it about as much as any of the other pieces.   

       Having said all that, I'm wary of taking too much mickey out of abstract art. 95% of it looks like crap to me, and 5% I think is brilliant. The problem is that my 5% will be different from the next person's 5%.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 09 2013
  

       //a frog on a tennis racket// How about a frog making a racket as it played tennis? (is it not a racquet with which one plays tennis?)
xenzag, Jul 09 2013
  

       [DrBob] That piece in the Tate was by Fischli and Weiss, (I believe) most excellent artists, and much admired by me. David Weiss sadly died 27 April 2012.
xenzag, Jul 09 2013
  

       //next person's 5%// Ahh, so the key there is to target the right 5%, if you can overlap with a Saatchi, you're made. Everyone else can take a running jump.   

       Sadly, Marcel Duchamp did this back in 1917, and to their discredit, art critics thought it was great.   

       Since then everyone's been trying to out-twat each other more and more, to the ultimate point where ultimate twat Damien Hirst took one of the most profound objects known to man, a human skull, seat of the self, the soul and all that makes us who we are, and successfully project-managed its defilement by getting his factory workers to cover it in bling, thus leaving it devoid of any meaning whatsoever. It only remains for someone to perpetually shit in its eyes for the insult to be complete.
zen_tom, Jul 09 2013
  

       I'm sure that Damien would be the first to agree with you as he laughs all the way to the bank.   

       Think it's easy being a high profile artist? Go ahead. No one stops anyone from making work and convincing a gallery to exhibit it. These days you can simply make a web site and show your work that way too. Good luck.
xenzag, Jul 09 2013
  

       I have to admit, the money doesn't help endear Mr Hurst to me in any way. Good luck to him, I hope he enjoys spending it - but it's not art - but a highly successful business. I don't mind that, Coke are proficient at turning brown water into money, and I don't resent them for it - but they don't float my boat artistically, if they stopped making brown water, I'd not miss it. Equally, Hirst is proficient at turning other things into money, but if he didn't do it anymore, that'd be fine too.   

       But it raises the point that as the galleries are owned, managed (and in the UK funded! grrr) by elitist, self-serving, small-tent, back-room mateys, who through their art work, actively stick both fingers up at the rest of society who fund them (double grrr!!) waving them at us gleefully, it strikes me as disingenuous, that some of us are left scratching our heads going "oh, but what does it mean?" - when what it means is that we're all being taken for saps.   

       That being said, if the last century of modern art was a reaction to craft, skill and the elitism of the "maisons" and "ecoles" of the establishment of the day, calling them saps; now we're all saps, so at least it's democratic. What's needed is some reappraisal where we're not all paying for a small elite to continually relive and react to the socio-cultural establishment of the early 20th century. Duchamp was nearly 100 years ago - and it was a cheap gag then, it's getting old now.
zen_tom, Jul 09 2013
  

       MOMA and Guggenheim. Both in NYC, about two miles apart. They have identical paintings by Mondrian, except one has the the bottom corner painted pale gray while the other is left white.   

       I will admit that Mondrian exhibited some creativity in reaching the form of painting he did. After that, I'm pretty sure he was just messing with the art world.
MechE, Jul 09 2013
  

       Ahh now, the thing is, I think Mondrian had a point - I can see what he was up to - there is some form and beauty and craft in what he did - which was in some ways a kind of distillation of form into (as he saw it) its most constituent parts. I see some value in that - I love Henry Moore, and Picasso. I think there's something similar thematically in all these, so my cynicism isn't a blanket response to anything that's "modern". It's just that sneering "cleverness" that replays the old themes over, and over and over again as if they're new that bugs me.   

       Duchamp, Banksy, Hirst, those god-awful Gilbert & George folks, or that f*cking "Claire" - all that self-absorbed, self-referential "Ahh, but is it art?? Oh wow, what does it mean? Maybe it's about life..Ohh look, there's a shit!" bollocks that's supposed to be shocking, edgy or in some way meaningful.   

       At least the daubings on railway sidings by glue- addled teens, are an honest expression of crude territorial marking.   

       Asking the same old question "Ahhh, but is this art?" to which the answer is always, "Oh please fuck off" doesn't add anything to the conversation - at least nothing interesting anyway.
zen_tom, Jul 09 2013
  

       Again, I acknowledge Mondrian's point in reaching the point he did. Where it goes off the rails is when he kept doing it.
MechE, Jul 09 2013
  

       //Ahh now, the thing is, I think Mondrian had a point - I can see what he was up to - there is some form and beauty and craft in what he did - which was in some ways a kind of distillation of form into (as he saw it) its most constituent parts. I see some value in that - I love Henry Moore, and Picasso. I think there's something similar thematically in all these, so my cynicism isn't a blanket response to anything that's "modern". It's just that sneering "cleverness" that replays the old themes over, and over and over again as if they're new that bugs me.//   

       Without wishing to leap to the defence of all modern art, I think this is exactly the point.   

       Picasso invented the basic idea of flattening and distorting things, then he did it with loads of things. Surely that was "sneering cleverness"? Henry Moore - I suspect a plug-in for Cinema4D could be written, to transform any human-like figure into a Henry Moore-style sculpture - wasn't that "sneering cleverness" on his part?   

       I don't think there are many modern artists who are any more repetitive than Picasso, Moore, Mondrian, Pollock... and certainly in the last two cases, you can argue that the effort _apparently_ expended in creating their paintings was minimal.   

       I don't like most modern art, so I don't buy it and I don't pay to go and see it. Same goes for opera and ballet. But I'm perfectly happy for an infinitesimal amount of my tax money to go towards supporting modern art, opera and ballet.   

       I'm happy because some people enjoy things that I don't. I'm also happy in the knowledge that a lot of it will turn out to be navel-gazing trivialities; some of it won't.   

       No doubt there were a hundred navel-gazing trivialists churning out weird paintings alongside Picasso; I'm pretty sure that none of us could, at the time, have picked Picasso out as a promising artist.   

       By claiming "sneering cleverness" you're assuming that the artists are sneering and clever. They may or may not be sneering - I don't know, and I doubt if you know either.   

       They may also be guilty of cleverness - how stupid would you prefer them to be?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 09 2013
  

       Hmm, let's try and quantify it then.   

       It's about the motives behind the works - not the apparent simpleness/trickyness involved in pulling them off.   

       Duchamp put a urinal in a gallery to say to the establishment "you're all a load of piss".   

       Picasso worked on thousands of studies for his works and cared about and was genuinely interested in producing the best work he could, developing his style as he went.   

       Hirst employs a large team of undergraduates to manufacture things on his behalf.   

       We all have to make a judgement on what's genuine endeavour, and what's formulaic, devoid of meaning and/or a reaction to the art establishment. Despite the ostensibly subjective nature of that judgement, I think it's usually fairly clear.
zen_tom, Jul 09 2013
  

       So if an artist has such a brilliant, inspired vision that he can just sit down and put it on canvas, it's less artistic?   

       If a poet writes a perfect haiku without lots of preliminary work ("Golden petals falling...no, shit, that's six....Gold petals falling...no, nobody makes petals out of gold..."), that's not artistic because it's lacking in effort or motive?   

       If the green plastic frog had been whittled by hand using a vole's tooth from a cubic metre of plastic over the course of decade, that would be art?   

       I am pretty sure that a lot of modern art is either facile navel-gazing or cynical money-making. Unfortunately, I'm not smart enough to be sure enough of knowing which is which, to simply declare it all 'twatism'.   

       If it were up to me, therefore, I would resist the temptation to classify all modern art as twatism, just as I'd probably keep my mouth shut about opera and ballet. Other people seem to like them, and that's fine by me.   

       Fortunately, though, it's a judgement I'll never have to make, because [theleo] has had the revelation that modern art is twatism. Why nobody else had ever suggested this before is beyond me - thank gods for [theleo]'s insight.   

       As a backup - the gods are indeed benevolent - we can apparently rely on mass opinion to decide on what's art and what isn't by canvassing votes on the exit to the gallery. This is a great idea - I honestly couldn't tell a genuine Mondrian from a random collection of lines, and nor can most people, so clearly Mondrian's just taking the piss. That'll save a few square metres of wallspace in the galleries.   

       If [theleo] would like to pass judgement on ballet, opera, counry-un-wessun and Irish folk music, we could really save a lot of time and money.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 09 2013
  

       Hi xenzag! Yep, them's the blokes. Thanks for that.

As for all this palaver about what is and isn't art, I say that art, like beauty, is in the eye (& mind) of the beholder. This is why I despise art critics. Their primary function is to tell you what you should or shouldn't like and it's none of their damn business what you do or don't like!

So, addressing the idea at last, whilst I sympathise with theleopard's sentiments to a certain extent, I don't agree with the sitting back & mocking of other people's judgement of what they like.

Well, no, actually. That's not quite right. I'm all for good humoured mockery. It's the certainty in the idea that the frog, and the tennis racket for that matter, are not art that bothers me. After all, someone had to design & create them & that involves creative decisions about form, texture, colour etc which may appeal to some people's aesthetic sensibilities.

God, I'm beginning to sound like Brian bloody Sewell aren't I! Somebody please shoot me now, before it's too late!
DrBob, Jul 09 2013
  

       //One is just a collection of lines and the other is just so.//   

       No doubt. Put up a row of similar paintings, one genuine. Parade a cross-section of people past them. Ask who can spot the real one. Some can, some can't.   

       That's the damn point. Just because I can't tell a Mondrian from a Bob Drain doesn't mean Mondrian was a twat.   

       //Mr Hursts art is a performance piece employing a factory and a gullible audience.// Most of the 'great masters' had teams of assistants who did much of the work, with the artist intervening only at critical steps. Rubens, for instance, had a huge workshop of 'assistants'.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 09 2013
  

       Ultimately, placing a piece of fakery in a gallery situation is fairly shallow as an idea. Why not send it in to the RCA open submission summer show, and see how it gets on? Who knows, with the right kind of panel, it might end up as a legitmate entry with a fat price tag on it, then someone can call you a twat for showing it, and set about doing an exposé. Ha.
xenzag, Jul 09 2013
  

       For the record, nobody offered to buy my lump of plastic. A handful of other pieces had offers. Clearly, there was something discernable to a proportion of the people viewing them.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 09 2013
  

       // some can be lasting//   

       I am pretty sure that when Picasso got famous, there were hordes of people saying "he's a twat". Of course, they would have probably said it in Spanish to begin with.   

       Of course, if you just decide that all modern art is twatism, you'll be right 95% of the time, just as you would in the 1900s, 1800s...
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 09 2013
  

       You see this is where there is a definite distinction.   

       Some folks decided to strike new ground on its own merits, others decided to try and subvert the whole process. Both are labelled as 'modern' but for me, there's a distinct difference between what you might describe as the 'conceptual' which is less interested in the process or product, but more on an imagined possible narrative effect upon a suitably naieve/cynical/contextually prepared/unprepared audience member - and the other is a bit more tradtional and might involve a canvas, clay and or other materials etc.   

       For me anyway, it's the former I personally find annoying - the type of stuff that requires a context to be set, normally a context only knowable from within the artistically educated classes - a context created almost exclusively by art critics, and artists trained as art critics. So cultural references are bandied about, subverted, turned crazily upside down and generally muddied in such a way that nothing makes sense any more, everything's ironic and stripped of authenticity and value. Ironically enough, it's this in-crowd mentality of establishment appraisal of art that triggered the whole post modernist back-lash in the first place, so in creating a new conceptually punk, "up-yours" type of art, they've simply replaced one type of elite (one that had more classical sensibilities) with another, more scatological one.   

       The latter kind, whether it be a haiku, a one-off Pollock, or something else - is something genuine - something beautiful.   

       DrBob - is referencing Mr Sewel in such a debate act similarly to the invocation of Godwin's law?
zen_tom, Jul 09 2013
  

       I suggest that the rot set in with the Aesthetic movement in the late C19th, with their slogan "Art for Art's sake". This put the art world into the inward-looking rut where it has remained ever since. By "inward-looking", I mean that the purpose of art became the generating of shibboleths for cliques. (In earlier centuries, "art" just meant "technical skill").   

       No-one noticed at the time, because there was a finite legacy of beauty left over from previous conceptions of art, which took some time to run out, and also because, up to the middle of the C20th, quite a lot of art *did* have a purpose outside itself - such as agitprop.   

       This doesn't mean that more recent artists never have interesting ideas. It means only that those ideas are incidental to their success. What is essential to their success is the skill of conveying the impression that they are offering something which will give a purchaser an exclusive insider advantage over the common herd - essentially the same skill as is required by people selling other "positional goods", such as high fashion and certain investment products.   

       What would make an interesting idea would be a plastic frog which somehow, by separating artistic activity from the "shibboleths for cliques" business model, reduced the twat rate below 95%. That frog might need batteries (not included).
pertinax, Jul 10 2013
  

       "shibboleths for cliques" very much [marked-for-tagline]!
zen_tom, Jul 10 2013
  

       //is referencing Mr Sewel in such a debate act similarly to the invocation of Godwin's law?//

Jah, Mein Fuhrer!
DrBob, Jul 10 2013
  

       This is as bad as a gun debate.
xandram, Jul 10 2013
  

       Would you care to qualify that opinion? I've been quite enjoying it, myself.
Alterother, Jul 10 2013
  

       //People stopped and looked it about as much as any of the other pieces.//   

       Ironically, the joke was on you, [Max]. Why was your piece any less “art” than anything else in the gallery? Because you didn't intend for it to have a message? Ah, but you did—it was a critique on the concept of postmodernist art. One might even go so far as to say that the art wasn't in the piece itself, but rather the exhibition of it.   

       I went to MoMA when I was in New York a couple years back. Much of it was actually quite interesting, and if it was not always entirely clear what the message of the piece was it at least was obvious that considerable time, planning, and effort had been put into its creation. But there were at least few exhibits I saw where the only conclusion I could come up with was that the artist was simply having one over on the viewers. For example, a pile of concrete blocks stacked two deep into a rectangle shape. But even if that /was/ the point, it couldn't be called any less art.   

       Ultimately, I think this idea falls prey to the same problem—in trying to subvert the concept of modern art to demonstrate its silliness, it itself becomes a work of modern art in spite of itself. That's the thing about modern art—even the act of declaring something like this to /not/ be art makes it inherently art. Rebelling against perceived “twatism” in the art community is a perfectly valid artistic point of view. In fact, wasn't that the entire concept behind pop art and Dadaism?
ytk, Jul 10 2013
  

       [Alter] Not that my //opinion// would even matter, but this bantering back and forth is all just opinion anyway. Someone said it farther up in the discussion that //art is in the eye of the beholder.//
If someone can squish up a roll of toilet paper and glue it into a frame and make a bunch of money on it, who's to say or care if it's art or not? I'm not a fan of modern art per say, but there are pieces that are quite provocative and thought provoking, therefore having some type of worth.
How about a twat on a tennis racket?
xandram, Jul 10 2013
  

       //Ironically, the joke was on you, [Max]. Why was your piece any less “art” than anything else in the gallery?//   

       Technically speaking, that's not irony, but anyway. It was less "art" than at least some of the other pieces: nobody wanted to buy mine, whereas a few of the other pieces were sought after by several people. Given that it was a free-choice situation with no biases introduced by famous names, I take that as an indication that some of those pieces were more artistic than others.   

       Anyway, it now behoves me to go and explore the art which is sealed in a glass bottle by a cork.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 10 2013
  

       [xenzag], please, the misspelling of "racquet" was an ironic juxtaposition of avant-garde smug- duggery and pseudo-self-deprecating whimsy, revealing the piece's naïve timidity among an audience of presumed (and evident) pedants and cynics. Clearly this was lost on you, but not to worry, there's some nice illustrated guidebooks in the gift shop.   

       [zen_tom], first looking at that oak tree nonsense reminded me of that episiode of Spaced, in which Brian takes Twist to an art gallery full of blank canvases.   

       "Pillow. Hmmm..."   

       [bigsleep], awesome.
theleopard, Jul 11 2013
  

       [ytk] - //even the act of declaring something like this to /not/ be art makes it inherently art. Rebelling against perceived “twatism” in the art community is a perfectly valid artistic point of view//   

       Are you calling me a twat?
theleopard, Jul 11 2013
  

       //Are you calling me a twat?//   

       Shirley not.   

       Incidentally, what was the //brick with a fag butt resting on top, but on a plinth// to which you alluded?   

       Also incidentally, if you smuggle in //eponymous artefacts//, won't that rather give away your identity?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 11 2013
  

       //what was the //brick with a fag butt resting on top, but on a plinth// to which you alluded//   

       Made it up, but was thinking Emin.   

       //if you smuggle in //eponymous artefacts//, won't that rather give away your identity//   

       Eponymous to the idea, ya crazy lark!
theleopard, Jul 11 2013
  

       I detect barely concealed envy in the whole idea. A failed or reject artist at work? Just submit the piece and get on with it, rather than making a tiresome rant. It's all been heard before, over and over again.   

       "Imagine paying money for a pile of bricks?" Imagine indeed? Imagine if you owned them, how much would you sell them for?   

       "Here's that piece of work that anyone could think of and do, only they actually thought of it, did it, and you didn't"
xenzag, Jul 11 2013
  

       I understood the misspelling of racket and used it again. I think I'll bun the idea now.
xandram, Jul 11 2013
  

       //barely concealed envy//   

       With respect, [xenzag], this is a rather over-used defence - "they're just jealous!" It is true in proportion to the role which attention-seeking plays in the life of the person making the original criticism, and this role varies more than you might think from one person to another.   

       I strongly suspect, though I don't have numbers, that there's quite a neat inverse proportion between attention-seeking and attention-giving in the motivations of any given individual, and the sternest critics of recent art are essentially attention-giving people, who go to a gallery not with a daydream of getting attention, but rather in search of something worth paying attention to.
pertinax, Jul 12 2013
  

       //wasn't that the entire concept behind pop art and Dadaism?//   

       Mmm... no, I don't think it was.
pertinax, Jul 12 2013
  

       I think i see things the other way round. Looking at a thermostat or one of those graphing seismograph-looking thingies in an art gallery context makes them look like art, and leaving an art gallery can be an experience rather like finishing watching a good comedy programme on TV: everything looks faintly arty afterwards just as everything looks faintly ridiculous after the TV programme.
nineteenthly, Jul 12 2013
  

       //With respect, [xenzag], this is a rather over-used defence - "they're just jealous!" //   

       Just sounded condescending to me.
theleopard, Jul 12 2013
  

       On the other hand, [xenzag] has a fair point when he says   

       //It's all been heard before, over and over again.//   

       If the idea is to "expose" something, as the summary indicates... you can't really "expose" something that's been more-or-less in plain view for the best part of a hundred years.   

       If you could suggest a definite institutional or technical change which might improve the situation, *that* would be an idea. Otherwise, it looks rather like MFD - Advocacy.
pertinax, Jul 12 2013
  

       Not to come over all Captain Turner Prize but modern art doesn't function without a viewer and doesn't function without a viewer willing to approach the piece with an honest engagement. The issue seems to me to be that modern art is often non representational, or initially bizarre or ostensibly prosaic such that the viewer must first get over their natural suspicions in order to engage fully. It is not easy to let your intellectual guard down and attempt to credulously assess a pile of bricks or a room with the lights going on and off, for fear of being a more complete victim of an elaborate practical joke designed to be at the expense of the credulous. Until that leap of if not faith then at least of personal reputation can be made, the art will automatically look like the joke you are trying to fall avoid being a victim of. At least Las Meninas is a picture of a thing - you can talk about how it looks confidently, even if the tale it tells is lost on you. Representational art asks less from the viewer in terms of personal commitment.   

       For the record, I prefer representational art and a lot of modern or conceptual art looks like a bumper bag of bollocks to me.
calum, Jul 12 2013
  

       When you get to this stage, how do you tell whether it is art or not?   

       i.e. there is a pile of bricks in my garden. Is it art?
pocmloc, Jul 12 2013
  

       True art doesn't have to be called art to be art.
cudgel, Jul 12 2013
  

       Today I cut down a dead maple and there in its dried, rotted out core was a gnarled little curl of wood that looked like a person climbing. I brought it inside and put it on the shelf next to a picture I drew for my wife and some moose teeth I found on the railroad tracks.   

       It isn't signed or dated. It was made by a tree. Nobody has spoken aloud proclaiming it art or not art, but nonetheless I say that it is art because it is artful.
Alterother, Jul 12 2013
  

       //next to a picture I drew for my wife and some moose teeth I found on the railroad tracks.//   

       You old romantic, you.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 12 2013
  

       //I say that it is art because it is artful//   

       Art and beauty are two different things, it is not art without intent.
MechE, Jul 12 2013
  

       How about half a croissant on a plate?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 12 2013
  

       Then there is no art in the works of Nature, simply because there is no intent behind their creation?
Alterother, Jul 12 2013
  

       Five minutes in the penalty box for attempting to segue the conversation from the philosophical to the theological.
ytk, Jul 13 2013
  

       //it is not art without intent//[MechE] So if you placed it under a portable waterproof shelter erected in a field, would it be art within a tent?   
xenzag, Jul 13 2013
  

       //Then there is no art in the works of Nature, simply because there is no intent behind their creation?//   

       True. "Art", "artefact" and "artificial" all come from the same root. On the other hand, "arthropod", "Arthur" and "arthritis" do not - make of that what you may.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2013
  

       I think [calum]'s getting close to the heart of this, though maybe from a different direction from mine:   

       //a viewer willing to approach the piece with an honest engagement//
//engage fully//
//leap of if not faith then at least of personal reputation//
//personal commitment//
  

       ... These read like advice about personal relationships. Why would you form a relationship with an artifact as you would with a person? You wouldn't need to if the artifact said "look at this", rather than just "Ooh, look at me". Hence my earlier observation that contemporary art is all about the clique - that is, the relationship, which is significant only in so far as it excludes most people.
pertinax, Jul 13 2013
  

       I feel the same about opera and ballet - I am not part of the clique with which engages with either, and I am not prepared to make the investment of becoming involved with them.   

       However, that does not mean that opera and ballet are produced solely to cynically exploit a clique whilst excluding the majority.   

       I would be unwilling to infer that an opera writer or a choreographer was "oozing arrogance and contempt" just because I didn't engage with opera or ballet. Yet [theleo] appears to be ascribing these properties to people who create art that he doesn't like. I'm not sure why.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2013
  

       A reasonable question, [MB], to which I will grope towards an answer (though I can't speak for my spotted friend).   

       First, I think opera and ballet have, traditionally, had purposes outside themselves. For example, if I were a native speaker of Italian, and if cinema hadn't been invented yet, I might well find operas to be good entertainment, and I imagine that most operas were written with the intent of entertaining good-sized crowds of people - and maybe with other intents as well. If someone had asked Verdi or Puccini what his latest piece was about, I imagine that he would have tried to explain it, and not gone coy or mystical.   

       That's a reason for thinking that opera and ballet are *not* all about the clique in a nasty, snobby way - or, at least, they weren't always.   

       Second, I have some reason for thinking that more recent art *is* nasty and snobby though, I admit, the evidence here is less clear-cut.   

       A year or two ago, I heard a BBC radio interview with a grand old man of the arts world whose name, unfortunately, I failed to catch. After many other questions about the things he'd come across in his long and distinguished career as... whatever he was (an art critic, I think?) I remember the interviewer asking his opinion of the art of autistic people. He said something to the effect that, although almost anything could be counted art, this work could not be. He explained that his conception of art relied on the relationships that could be formed around the work, and with the artist, and therefore, a person who couldn't work those relationships was not an artist, regardless of what he or she might create. That's the "inward-looking rut" I mentioned earlier, right there. Other people in the arts world might not be willing to say that out loud (thank God for the dis-inhibiting effects of old age), but I think that's about as close to a "smoking gun" as we're likely to see on this question.
pertinax, Jul 13 2013
  

       Why is time?   

       //if I were a native speaker of Italian, and if cinema hadn't been invented yet, I might well find operas to be good entertainment, and I imagine that most operas were written with the intent of entertaining good-sized crowds of people - and maybe with other intents as well.//   

       Yes, but you are making the same prejudiced assumption as [theleo]. You are assuming that modern art is not created with the intent of entertaining.   

       [theleo]'s thesis boils down to: "I don't get modern art, therefore there is nothing _to_ get, therefore all modern artists are cynical manipulators, therefore let's expose it in a totally original way."   

       My thesis boils down to: "I don't get modern art, but clearly some other people do, and I got over the whole 'let's take the piss out of it' phase when I was about 18. Some of it may be cynical twattery, some of it may not, it's probably up to the people who are into modern art to decide which."
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2013
  

       Einstein was also pretty heavily into codeine and heroin. That's something that doesn't get mentioned too often.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 13 2013
  

       Cool
I've often wondered if the cause before effect we experience is, in reality, the end result of effect playing out all possible causes and we just can't perceive it that way.
  

       ...look ma, no heroine or codeine needed.   

       Tennis Wacket Amphibian Tacked-on
popbottle, Jul 14 2013
  

       The term 'modern art' is only used by straw sucking bumpkins. It has no meaning, or value. Those (like me) who want to be a true hipster, and have the full attention of lithe lovelies, both male and female, need to find a new type of language and thought process. Referring to contemporary artists as Twats, only places those who do so into the same category as Luddites, creationists, global warming deniers, petrol heads, and all manner of the intellectually feeble.   

       There's nothing cool about expressing disdain over something that evades your reduced capacity for comprehension. Monkeys do this with swiss movement alarm clocks and end up bashing them against the bars of their enclosures to a chorus of shrieking mutual approval, as a bemused audience observes their silly antics, before simply getting bored and moving on to the next exhibit.
xenzag, Jul 14 2013
  

       //Those (like me) who want to be a true hipster// Ah, I think that’s where you're going wrong...
pocmloc, Jul 14 2013
  

       Ha.... I have another life beyond this place, and it's populated by the coolest of the cool. We even have warning sensor linked spirit levels sewn into our clothes to make sure they sit at the perfect angle, and miniature gyroscopes to monitor and regulate our gliding movements.
xenzag, Jul 14 2013
  

       [MaxwellBuchanan],   

       //You are assuming that modern art is not created with the intent of entertaining//   

       Well... if it were, then why would so many people in the arts world be so contemptuous of the entertainment industry, which actually does? Granted, I'm generalizing here, and I suspect that this particular contempt is less evident now than it was during the twentieth century. Nevertheless, the arts world is still in some sense distinct from the entertainment industry.   

       This is not a bad thing in itself. It simply reflects that art is supposed to be doing something else as well as, and sometimes instead of, entertaining. The phenomenon which [theleopard] calls twatism is a reflection of that "something else" heading off in a rather regrettable direction, a direction which is not intrinsic to art, though some people speak as though it were.   

       I feel that some grossly simplified history is called for here.   

       For most of the history of art, the "something else" could broadly be characterized as religious (from cave paintings to, say, Victorian biblical tableaux). For much of it, the "something else" also included articulations of secular group identities, such as family and nation.   

       Then, between the mid-C19 and mid-C20th, the "something else" became self-consciously revolutionary, reflecting a jumble of Marxist and psychoanalytic ideas, and *then* it became something else again - what [theleopard] calls "twatist".   

       Now, [xenzag],   

       Your patience is appreciated while we ignorant bumpkins try to improve our articulation of what we feel the problem is.   

       First I acknowledge that a lot of inarticulate - or inadequately articulated - anger has been directed towards recent art, and it's not surprising that this looks to you like ignorant Luddism.   

       To see how it might be something else, may I direct your attention to Betty Friedan's feminist classic, "The Feminine Mystique"? The relevance of that book is that it was an expression of anger in relation to a social problem which, to that point, had not had a name. The challenge for the author was to explain not only what was wrong with it and what should be done about it, but also what "it" was - and she had to do this in the teeth of a good deal of complacent expert opinion.   

       I suggest that the problem perceived by [theleopard] has often been criticized inarticulately because the terminology has not yet been coined in which to criticize it articulately. "Twatism" is probably not the best name for the problem, and I am using it here just as a place-holder until we can think of something better.   

       One of my fears for contemporary high culture is that it might suffer a sort of premature French Revolution, in which the angry peasants turn up with pitchforks and torches before any philosophes have really thought through what the problem is, but while the aristos are still denying that there *is* a problem. That would, indeed, result in a Luddite outcome.   

       I have a neat formulation of this problem which, regrettably, may not fit into this margin...   

       While I give more thought to this, though, I have another question for you, [xenzag]; if the phrase "modern art" is hopelessly déclassé, can you suggest an alternative phrase to cover the types of art which emerged from the mid-C20th onward, and which deliberately avoided all conventional themes, including religious, aristocratic, naturalistic, patriotic and revolutionary ones?   

       I admit that's not a very well-phrased definition - but what all those diverse themes have in common is that, by implication, the artist is saying "look at *this*", whether it's "this oppressive class system", or "this beautiful tree", whereas, in more recent art (and, of course, there are honourable exceptions), the main subtext is not "look at *this*", but just "look at *me*". That is what I mean by characterizing more recent art as inward-looking, while earlier art was more outward-looking - it drew attention to something outside the viewer and his peer-group.
pertinax, Jul 15 2013
  

       //Why is time?//
John Wheeler clearly explained that "Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once."
sqeaketh the wheel, Jul 15 2013
  

       For those of you who've just joined us, a summary.   

       [theleopard], (supported by [zen_tom]): Modern (conceptual) arts people are just twats.
[DrBob], [MechE]: We quite like some of that stuff - <edit> or, at least, we see some point to some of it</edit>.
[xenzag]: Theleopard is just a loser.
[bigsleep] {showed a powerpoint}
[MaxwellBuchanan]: chacun à son goût.
[pertinax] {some poorly-structured ramblings trying to move the debate away from the ad-hominem stuff}
  

       Right, carry on ...
pertinax, Jul 15 2013
  

       [pertinax] There is no problem, except in the minds of those who get angry over that which eludes their ability to understand it. They then develop the logical train that concludes with this type of thinking: "I'm being made a fool of here." One answer to that is: You're making a fool of yourself here, by reacting in this way.   

       My simple description is contemporary art practice. This seems to meet with the approval of my many practitioner friends.   

       Many aspects of contemporary art are more complex than the simplistic interpretations most people are content to embrace. The very best of work challenges, enrages, confounds, delights, and in some cases actually alters how we view ourselves. Those who make work give a variety of reasons as to why they do that which they do, but most do not have an easy life, and make significant sacrifices to continue their practice.   

       As I have said, making a piece of work that fits surreptitiously amongst other work proves nothing, but reflects on the mind set of the maker. I am a great fan of Pranks, and have been part of many, but to build a tower of anti-contemporary practice on the back of a Prank is to enter Luddite Land.   

       There are many who have been proven not to be able to tell cider from Champagne, ergo Champagne has its value diminished.
xenzag, Jul 15 2013
  

       If only rcarty were here to use the proper terms for what I am about to try to describe. Anyway. You can, if you like, envisage person A speaking to person B as a bilateral exchange, but it is not, it is two one directional (zayn for life) exchanges: A and the words A says; B and the words B hears. The medium - here, language - is inevitably interposed and though language is a pretty good way to communicate, it is by no means a perfect way to transfer information. The same holds true for the communication that Artist Y makes to viewer Z, only here the disjunct beween what Y is trying to communicate and what Z is taking from the communication is likely to be greater. It is likely to be greater for a number of reasons, I suppose, including lack of shared vocabulary (where the vocabulary is shared, the clique forms) and a lack of willingness on the part of Z to engage, to attempt to form their own vocabulary. The main thing, though, is that whatever the interpretation Z puts on the artefact, that interpretation is correct for Z. Y chooses to communicate through art, so Y must accept a higher degree of failure to communicate. What Y also gets, though, is a broader range of interpretations from all the Zs who approach the artefact. This range of interpretations is what makes art (qua art) interesting to me: the same artefact can trigger such varied responses (even though, with "modern art", the range of responses will include a large proportion of "it just bollock"es).
calum, Jul 15 2013
  

       "it just bollock" is a typo but I am sticking with it, because it is better.
calum, Jul 15 2013
  

       Bollox - a fine expressive term, totally unknown in the colonies. Ball-lux.... a set of hairy testicles that have been the beneficiaries of a nice poodle style perm.
xenzag, Jul 15 2013
  

       [xenzag], I am one of those people who might struggle, in a blind test, to distinguish champagne from cider - and yet, I smile indulgently on wine snobs. Similarly, there are parts of twentieth century physics that I have never been able to grasp, but, (aside from a few misgivings about Richard Feynman), I have never suspected that the leading physicists of the last hundred years were just taking the piss.   

       And yet, I still think there's a problem in contemporary art - although it doesn't involve all practitioners, and has, for the most part, emerged fairly ingenuously from certain historical accidents. That is, it's *not* a sinister conspiracy as such, although it can look like one from the outside.   

       Would you bear with me if I tried to sketch the outline of this problem by means of some tangential anecdotes?
pertinax, Jul 15 2013
  

       "There is a problem in contemporary art." Who has the problem?
xenzag, Jul 15 2013
  

       [zen_tom] //Here's an example of some very obvious conceptual toss.// re Michael Craig-Martin piece. I totally disagree. I think this is thought provoking and very funny piece of work, that set out to achieve an equivalence to a piece of religious nonsense and succeeded. My question is this: If you think that it's such "a piece of conceptual toss", could you give me an example of a contemporary work that you consider to be the opposite?
xenzag, Jul 15 2013
  

       I think I am on z_t's side on that one, xenzag. All that Craig-Martin did was stick a bit of pub philosophy ("if transubstantiation is real then this pint of lager is an oak tree") on display and tout it as a work of art. It's certainly a political statement (though not a very original one) but it's not art*; which might be the heart of what Mr theleopard is driving at.


*Well, not in the way intended. Transparent water in a transparent glass on a transparent shelf viewed through transparent air is quite interesting to think about though.
DrBob, Jul 15 2013
  

       [xenzag], you sound like the sycophantic entourage of the Emperor – he of modern fashion fame – snidely laughing at the common man for not having the ability to perceive his fabulous new attire. And all because the tailor sold you and your gullible friends a story: that only the cleverest, most worthy people could see his clothes, and you weren't all just vacantly staring at the Emperor's cock and balls.
theleopard, Jul 15 2013
  

       Try to keep your comments about your ideas or those of others. If you don't want me to make any comments at all, or only make ones that agree with you, then say so. Personal insults or attacks are for people suffering from internal rage. The whole idea could have been something that was a bit of fun, in the spirit of the halfbakery, instead of a pathetic rant directed at the entire contemporary art world.
xenzag, Jul 15 2013
  

       //Who has the problem?//   

       That's a fair question, [xenzag]. The one-word answer would be "outsiders", but that wouldn't explain things very well. I will try to explain it better.   

       Meanwhile, [theleopard] - steady on, old chap. That Emperor's New Clothes comparison was no doubt pithy and apposite the first time it was made, but that would have been some decades ago, and it no longer comes over well without some added reasoning.
pertinax, Jul 15 2013
  

       Maybe it is a language problem. I love a bit of ambiemt music, I do. My sig.oth doesn't, her preference is for music with a strong melody and, failing that, Gary Barlow. This means that when I put Selected Ambient Works II (the unsettling disc) or the like she will invariably comment that it is "very relaxing" - she isn't being mean or dismissing or incorrect about the music - but she doesn't listen to it in the way that I do. I hear things in it that she doesn't because I have listened to a fair bit of ambient. I have acquired the language of listening to ambient. This is the point that I was making with the reference to Las Meninas: in my ignorance, I see a picture of some forrin poshos from the olden days, whereas someone with art knowledge sees a story told and conventions torn down. Contemporary art requires a fairly complex language to understand (or at least approach understanding of) the artist's intent. To those without the language, those with it are twats or cliques.   

       The solution is for those without understanding to make an effort to understand and for those with understanding to make an effort to bring what they do towards those without understanding. Unfortunately, what seems to have happened in that art has devolved itself away from mainstream culture to the point where it feeds on itself, cordoned off from mass appeal, and therefore from the circumstances which create the incentive for the insiders and the outsiders to interact.
calum, Jul 15 2013
  

       //Try to keep your comments about your ideas or those of others. If you don't want me to make any comments at all, or only make ones that agree with you, then say so. Personal insults or attacks are for people suffering from internal rage. The whole idea could have been something that was a bit of fun, in the spirit of the halfbakery, instead of a pathetic rant directed at the entire contemporary art world. //   

       I'm happy to hear your opinion, but if your opinion includes the caveat: "if you don't think what I think, then you're a straw-sucking bumpkin Luddite with no capacity to understand art beyond the comprehension of a monkey," you're more than welcome to sod off.   

       The idea was the offshoot of a conversation I had in the park on a nice summer's day, written to my detriment in haste and with an ill-advised tone of ire, but it certainly wasn't supposed to be a rant at the entire contemporary art community.   

       However, your condescending comments in the defence of (forgive me once again) "modern art" have only further entrenched my opinion that it's all bollocks – a smug little clique with which I have no desire to interact.
theleopard, Jul 15 2013
  

       Right - further explanation of what I mean by "outsiders":   

       I would like you to imagine the "cultural space" of a particular community or civilization as being a large but finite resource - comparable to, say, habitable land. Like habitable land, it's not *strictly* finite - you can, like the Dutch, make more, with enough effort - but, at any rate, it's not just arbitrarily extensible. Having more of one thing in it (one person, one idea, one topic of conversation) leaves less room for another thing. That's why, in Andy Warhol's future, when everybody's famous, they only get fifteen minutes each.   

       Are you with me so far?   

       Well, where there is such as thing as a "cultural establishment" - or even just an "arts community" - their choices and shared values have an impact on everyone who lives in that broader community or civilization whose cultural space they dominate - not just on those who opt into "the arts" as a profession or as a hobby. That impact, arising from the finite-ness of cultural space (sorry if that sounds a bit wanky), creates this constituency of outsiders, who have an interest, if only a negative one, in what the arts community is up to.   

       In the same way, if a particular section of the inhabitants of a small island owned a disproportionate amount of the land on that island, then people outside that section would form a sort of class, whether or not they had anything else in common.   

       Now, you may like to characterize those outside the contemporary artistic consensus as being //Luddites, creationists, global warming deniers, petrol heads//, but I think we may be able to come up with a better characterization - better in the sense of "more able to move the debate forward", so as to make it less of a dialog of the deaf.   

       Unlike [theleopard], I am a glutton for punishment, it seems, and have not given up on the attempt to interact with my betters ("you see, seigneur, I've got this here cahier de doleances...").
pertinax, Jul 15 2013
  

       With regards to your summary [Pertinax], my statement is more in line with "some of that stuff has a point, or is making a statement". While there are occasional pieces in a contemporary art gallery that speak to me, as a category I am not fond of it. The closer to figurative art it stays, the happier I am (no problem with impressionism or surrealism, but abstract generally doesn't do it for me).   

       Likewise, random piles of things don't do it for me. If the artist/sculptor arranges them in an interesting way, or selects certain items for their message, it can be interesting, but isn't always.   

       Again, with Mondrian's later geometric work, or especially with Pollock's drip work, the argument is that the artist doesn't put a message into the painting, but instead creates the painting and allows the viewer to draw their own message from it. I have a problem with this, because it eliminates the intent of the artist from the process, which, again, I consider to be a critical portion of the art. As I said above, not for the first one or two of the approach, where the approach itself is the message, but definitely when you get beyond that point.   

       And, [Xenzag], you are perfectly welcome to consider me a philistine for thinking that way, however, in doing so, you are denying me my right to draw my own conclusions from a piece of art, even if that conclusion is "this piece is bollocks".
MechE, Jul 15 2013
  

       Fair point, [MechE]; summary edited.
pertinax, Jul 16 2013
  

       So..., [xenzag], might you entertain, in principle, the possibility that things going on inside the arts world might have some impact on the lives of people outside it?
pertinax, Jul 16 2013
  

       //to build a tower of anti-contemporary practice on the back of a Prank is to enter Luddite Land//   

       Ironically enough - and for me this is the central point here - isn't the above thing, *exactly* what a significant thread of what art in the last 100 years has continued to do off the back of Duchamp?   

       If Duchamp was the first punk, rebelling against the establishment; has not a Luddite tower been erected over time in his name, occupied by today's new elite, who, it turns out are as equally sniffy as the establishment of 100 years ago?   

       Or to put it another way - in response to the kind of condescension and disdain the common folks (the bumpkins et al) were receiving from the great and the good in the arts community back in 1917, Duchamp decided to exhibit a urinal. And if in doing so, that act triggered the construction of the great urinal-shaped edifice that is art now, then what piece can we exhibit to register our disillusionment at the condescension and disdain we are treated with today?   

       If (and it's a big if) that piece is a Tennis Racket with a Green Plastic Frog, then great - if not, then what form should it take?   

       Or maybe we need to look at it another way, and accept that despite art having been completely transformed from its classical roots, ironically enough, it's notable that the condescension and disdain remain exactly the same.   

       What does that say about art? If it says that condescension and disdain are the only persistent threads that remain after 100 years despite otherwise complete full-body transplantation, then it seems clear to me anyway, the rebellion failed.   

       Maybe the problem we're all talking about here is the perception of misguided veneration, and not the art itself.   

       How do you single out any particular piece as art without in some way venerating it in the process? It's a paradox, a non- sense, looking at something and even calling it art - the act denies its intention, muddies it, destroys it - at least in part - it's all very non-zen.   

       For me, whenever I connect with something, it's because I get a feeling for a trace of recognisable human sensibility behind an object, clues providing an instinctive sense of someone's personality, someone who shared some kind of common experience with me. It's like being on a desert island and finding a message in a bottle or a footprint in the sand.   

       However, for that experience to be authentic, that seed of life, the thing that is so exciting, has to emerge almost accidentally, if it's been placed too obviously, or directly, it becomes cliched, needy, perverse.   

       A mark that somehow suggests the person who left it was trying a little too hard to get my attention, or who is, in some way thumbing their nose at me, or trying to be shocking, or deliberately weird or in any one of many purposely self- conscious ways - that's not what I'm looking for, on a personal level, and I can't help taking a dislike - the same way as you'd take an eventual dislike or annoyance to someone being pretentious - the thing that makes art art, should be accidental, a by-product, not something that   

       I want for there to be a thing that is what it is, but something that in one way or another somehow transcends itself, and in doing so generates in me some recognition of intelligence, of intention or life.   

       In the Establishment of Art, there is a danger to mistakenly conceive of there being a list of objectively, officially sanctioned people who are deemed "interesting" - people from who's works we might each learn or benefit. I find that authoritative imposition of opinion uncomfortable - and certainly find myself getting annoyed at being told what I should and should not find interesting - with traditional art, there's a surface level to enjoy, and if you're lucky, there's maybe a glimmer of something more exciting as well. But with conceptual art, the only thing that's there is the supposed 'glimmer' laid bare, like Father Christmas cut open and spread apart on a dissection table (perhaps with a party hat on in a cynical critic disarming irony play - "Ahh, you were taking the vivisection of Father Christmas seriously? Ho ho, tut tut. What a sap, didn't you realise I was being *ironic*?")   

       I recognise much of the above perception is unfair, to imagine such an authority of voice exists is quite ridiculous - and yet, sitting here next to the Tate, with its great edifice and staunch chimneys, itself going through an immense multi- million pound refit, it's hard not to be impressed, not to think that there's some greater organisation at work, busy deciding, dictating what is and isn't interesting. I find that thought (however mistaken) quite chilling - and it makes me realise what Duchamp was on about all those years ago.   

       I think [MaxwellBuchanan] conveniently sidesteps this issue by suggesting that it is all horses for courses. And maybe these authoritative implications are just in my head - Is it just about what you like - But is there more at stake here? Or is it really all meaningless? It's kind of one or the other, no?   

       [Pertinax] makes a number of cogent points, in more neutral tones than I've been able to manage - but I think the point I'm trying to make here is similar - there is history here, and a place where we are today that rests upon that history - and a question - Where do we go from here? If where we are today is a dead-end, conceptually (and maybe, post Duchamp, it is) - where do we go next?   

       I don't know if [xenzag] is reacting here to what might be seen as personal criticism, nobody likes to hear that kind of thing - And to him, and the conceptual arts camp in general, let me offer a branch - I'd love to feel included, to be made to feel welcome and a part of this whole thing - but right now, I'll be honest, I'm feeling left out - the things you lot are pointing at and saying are interesting, aren't.   

       That "Oak Tree" piece [linked], a glass of water on a shelf, with some explanatory text stating that it's an oak tree, I get it. I'm just not *interested* by it. If I walk past muttering something under my breath, it's not because I don't get it, it's because there's nothing *interesting* to get.   

       It's just "fountain" all over again. Any artwork that "challenges the accepted boundaries of art" is doomed to be anchored to that urinal for ever more. Hirst's shark, Emin's bed, "Oak Tree" - they're all urinals. Repeating that same joke eternally, eternally, forever. The best jokes are the punchiest on the first reading - but after nearly 100 years *of the exact same joke* - and still the sniggering goes on!   

       Having someone behave unusually can be entertaining, perhaps even thought provoking ("Why is that person behaving unusually?") but it's still a different thing to something that might stimulate a near religious experience, like falling in love - which is how other art, classical and modern can and has made me feel. Maybe I just don't go for that kind of thing?   

       Or are those of us who get it, but who instead of being impressed, are left dry, are we all doomed to being luddites, monkeys and bumpkins from here-on as well? Is there any hope? Or are we officially flawed individuals?   

       Maybe it's that I just don't "engage". But going back to the popular notion of art as relationship analogy, I want to engage with the interesting people, not just those ones who've been placed on the official list. If I meet someone in the pub who I find annoying, because they're always tripping people up and sniggering to their mates, is that my fault, because I didn't engage with them enough?   

       I suppose I could be more tolerant and accept them, try and ignore their more annoying behaviour quirks and engage in them on whatever remaining shared characteristics we might have. Or maybe I should actively try and fall in love with them, take them on their own terms, ape their unusual behaviours so I can better understand them, and go out into the bright new world, a changed person. But who says I have to be the one who has to fall in love and be forever changed as a result? What if tripping people up just isn't that funny? Maybe the first time, but it's been going on for a long time now.   

       // If you think that it's such "a piece of conceptual toss", could you give me an example of a contemporary work that you consider to be the opposite?// It depends - if by contemporary you mean anything from the 20th Century onwards, then yes. If by contemporary you mean the kind of "what is art" type of pieces that copy or reinvent Duchamp's Fountain, then no, probably not.
zen_tom, Jul 16 2013
  

       So is that a bun or a 'bone, then?
DrBob, Jul 16 2013
  

       You guys must be so much fun at parties.
xandram, Jul 16 2013
  

       Get rid of the frog, the racket and the large room and you will have created a new, unseen perspective on modern art.
anzlovar, Jul 16 2013
  

       My favourite modern artwork was the man who pissed into Duchamp's urinal.
pocmloc, Jul 16 2013
  

       //Betty Friedan// great legs.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 16 2013
  

       What kind of parties?
Alterother, Jul 17 2013
  

       //You guys must be so much fun at parties// Ha - I balance a glass of water on my head, and carry a brick with a cigarette balanced on it, to confuse and annoy the ones I don't want to meet anyway. I once went to a party as The Bridge over The River Kwai.
xenzag, Jul 17 2013
  

       //However, your condescending comments in the defence of (forgive me once again) "modern art" have only further entrenched my opinion that it's all bollocks – a smug little clique with which I have no desire to interact.// [theleopard] That's strange, because I thought your whole idea was your proposal for an interaction with that very community.
xenzag, Jul 17 2013
  

       //You guys must be so much fun at parties.//   

       Sorry we're boring you, [xandram]. :-(   

       You understand, though, that we have to do this, right? It's because Western Civilization might well be saved and set on the right path by a particularly apposite remark posted twelve or thirteen screens down a half-bakery idea. Suddenly, previously irreconcilable positions will weep and hug each other, in an abstract sort of way, and a new dawn will break, and then be mended with string.   

       On the other hand, some of the other ideas may have better-mixed drinks. Should we call you a taxi?
pertinax, Jul 17 2013
  

       [xen] I wasn't including you- you are fun!!
[pert] no taxi necessary unless there is a real halfbaker driving it!
xandram, Jul 17 2013
  

       I will come out and confirm that I am terrible fun at parties. An absolute nightmare.
calum, Jul 17 2013
  

       I never seem to get invited to parties. I'm not sure why.
DrBob, Jul 17 2013
  

       I'm lots of fun at parties where this sort of discussion would be considered normal. There aren't a lot of them, but they're worth attending.
MechE, Jul 17 2013
  

       what those three ^^^ said
pertinax, Jul 17 2013
  

       //[xen] I wasn't including you- you are fun!!// Ha - I like to think so. Thanks. Certainly have enjoyed this idea and all of the fuming comments.
xenzag, Jul 17 2013
  

       I really didn't read any of the comments!
xandram, Jul 17 2013
  

       //Certainly have enjoyed this idea and all of the fuming comments//   

       So, when you provoke a discussion, the provocation is everything and the discussion is nothing? I hope that's not the case.
pertinax, Jul 18 2013
  

       Yes, isn't that tantamount to trolling?
theleopard, Jul 18 2013
  

       oh c'mon, I was only kidding...you people take everything so seriously! 0r are you addressing [xenzag]?
xandram, Jul 18 2013
  

       I think the whole idea of anyone fuming and raising their blood pressure over an idea about leaving something as daft and uninventive as a tennis racquet with a plastic frog on it in a public gallery is most entertaining. Becoming overly concerned to unveil the luvies of the contemporary art world as "twats" is just simplistic and unworthy as a halfbaked idea.   

       I'll see your "row of bricks" (Carl Andre) and raise you an "on and off light bulb" (Martin Creed) Ha!   

       Halfbakery is supposed to be fun... as for "trolling" isn't the whole principle behind the actual idea a type of trolling in the first place? ie plant something, then feel smug as others fight over its presence and meaning.
xenzag, Jul 18 2013
  

       //something as daft and uninventive as a tennis racquet with a plastic frog on it//   

       You realise, of course, that it's not supposed to be inventive or clever, yes? We're going for as far in the opposite direction as possible.   

       //twats//   

       I wish I hadn't used that term in the idea. In my vocabulary it's quite a harmless word, but I see it now as offering rather more offence than I had hoped. I got carried away when writing it, it seems.   

       //Halfbakery is supposed to be fun//   

       The idea was supposed to be a bit of fun, but raising an interesting question in the process. I didn't expect to be called a prick by you or, to a lesser extent, [Max].   

       //trolling//   

       Yes, you're right, there is a similarity. But trolling to me is an act unto itself. One trolls for the sake of trolling, ie to enjoy seeing people quarrel. That's not the same as the idea, which was to see if people can derive meaning and appreciation from something that is purposefully (as much as is possible) devoid of such.   

       And to be honest, I don't see much fuming in the comments, apart from you calling me a stupid heathen, and me not being terribly fond of it. The rest all seems quite civilised.
theleopard, Jul 18 2013
  

       awww big hug for [theleopard]. I think you are quite cute and wish you guys would just all get along. No name calling please. Trolling is also a way to fish with your line hanging off the back of the boat and going very slow...
xandram, Jul 18 2013
  

       slowly.
pocmloc, Jul 18 2013
  

       Which is actually where the internet usage for the word came from. Drag the bait in front of the target and see who reacts. The correlation with Norse/fantasy trolls was a later addition.
MechE, Jul 18 2013
  

       ..but I knew that of course, but not the Norse / fantasy trolls...oh well.
xandram, Jul 18 2013
  

       //I didn't expect to be called a prick by you or, to a lesser extent, [Max].// Just to clarify, I didn't say you were a prick to a lesser extent.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 18 2013
  
      
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