Sunday, 21 December 2014

Embracing the philistine?

I've decided it’s time to admit it.  It’s time to come out of the shadows and to say how I feel.  Most contemporary art is a pile of…; well it would probably win the Turner Prize whatever it was a pile of.

It’s take a day of submerging myself in art to finally realise that I think I have very narrow tastes in art, and for that I have to thank those who run the Bavarian State Painting Collections.

For they have decided that rather than the €7 entrance fee per site that they charge Tuesday to Saturday, on a Sunday they will charge just €1 per site.  This means you can take in 600 years of European Art, spread across four neighbouring galleries for just €4.  Consequently you can take a Sunday and just consume art like an all you can eat buffet – going back for the bits you felt like licking the plate for, and ignoring the bits you took one bite off and gagged on.

First up this morning was the Alte Pinakothek which houses pre-18th century art, almost all of it of a religious bent and I fear to say it, but it left me feeling cold.  I was round and out in 30 minutes flat.  Perhaps the fact that I’d only paid €1 to see it all may have made me less willing to stop and truly appreciate the paintings, but then again I suspect I would have gone round at the same speed if I’d paid the €7 and then just grumbled that it was a waste of money.

And so, across the road to the second stop of the day, the Neue Pinakothek and its collection of 18th and 19th century art.  It was here that I had the dawning realisation that my tastes were clearly very narrow as I found, for the first time I can remember in a gallery, being overtaken by other visitors.  Rather than walking past every painting at an even (and towards the end increasing) pace I was stopping and looking at many of the pictures.  Unknown German artists through to Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh all making me stop and look.

Perhaps it was the lack of religious symbolism, or more just the lack of portraits (I already know I’m much more of a landscape person) that had me captivated.

Moving across the road, and up a century, to the Modern art gallery again I found lots of paintings that caught my attention, along with many of the photography exhibits.  Picasso, Miro, Dali and a host of artists I’d never heard of before.  The works may not look like anything real (so perhaps it’s not just a classic landscape), yet I still found them interesting.

However, in the final gallery of the day my only reaction was “what a load of old @#$% contemporary art is.”  An entire gallery of paintings that are apparently great works of art, and yet I’m pretty certain I’d produced almost identical works whilst in nursery (and probably using a potato rather than a brush).

Which leaves me with a question…?  If I only like a very narrow range of art (18th- 20th century landscape painting, photography, cubism and surrealism) does that make me a philistine?

Or, is it just that “contemporary art” has disappeared up itself…

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