Category: The Arts & Design
The publicity machine for Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, has cranked into gear. The line is that this love story across the ethnic and religious divide of the Bosnian war is stirring passions among those who lived through its three pitiless years.
A commenter on the (at present, very short) thread writes:
There is a sense in which the appreciation of the Serb role in the conflict as “no-good guys” but also as victims marks the break-down of the Establishment narrative. Jolie is still telling it, of course, and she will win all the usual plaudits and probably an Oscar or two. Coincidentally, another false narrative had an airing on BBC2 this evening. But the “evil Serb” may not prove as enduring as the “evil Nazi”, and one small light on that may be thrown by the Telegraph comment thread. So far, it’s hearteningly balanced. I shall watch it with interest.
a sonnet by Alexander Baron
Tear down a forest, pulp its wood to print,
So begins a recent Telegraph piece by the pianist Stephen Hough on a (then) forthcoming performance by Paul Lewis of Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto, The Emporer, which closed his series of Proms performances of all five concertos.
“Rumination in freedom” has been part of our musical tradition for centuries. I would like to think that there is a reason for this, that our beguilement by, and openness to, the freedom of the emotions which these special passages afford has its roots in our psychology, and the roots runs deep. Where they ought to run, of course, is to a kind of permanent interest in standing against the external enforcement of rule and order. For that is our heritage as stubbornly independent and, I think, particularly northern Europeans, and its something that we, as nationalists thinking at the collective level, have to incorporate in our ideas and not attempt to disavow.
By David Hamilton
An entry for the 2003 Turner Prize was a sculpture depicting bodies being picked at by maggots. Entitled “Sex”, it was by Jake and Dinos Chapman, who duly made the headlines as the most shocking nominees.
Maggots feeding off a body is a fitting out picture of contemporary artists. They are corrupt, degraded, unimaginative and parasitic as they feed off our great artistic traditions and try to destroy them. Their aim is to destroy our values and something that gives meaning to our lives. Is a urinal, say, an artistic subject? No, it is intrinsically unartistic, even though it might have pleasing curves, and to write about it as such does not make it artistic but conceptually separates artistic form from subject
Contemporary art is not really art at all and should be called something else. But it is a financial asset for the global elites who buy and sell it and run the Arts Councils that manage artistic creativity.
Sotheby’s contemporary art auction in July 2008 raised more than $1 billion which shows how the global elites are investing in art regardless of economic predictions. Their evening contemporary art sale raised 95 million pounds ($189 million), the highest total for a summer contemporary auction held in Europe and just below the overall regional record set in February. Francis Bacon’s “Study for Head of George Dyer”, the artist’s lover, fetched $27.4 million, including commission; Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled”, was sold by rock band U2 for $10.1 million. Competitors Christie’s sold art worth $172 million at its sale. Only the less important Sotheby’s contemporary day sale is left and the two main auctioneers have sold works worth just over $1 billion during the summer season, which includes impressionist, modern, post-war and contemporary art. Christie’s raised around $552 million and Sotheby’s about $449 million so far.
Senior executives are confidant that the art market will sustain soaring values in spite of falling stocks and house prices with rising oil costs. Russian elites have been a big factor in booming art sales, there is worry they may inflate impressionist prices in the same way Japanese money did around 20 years ago then disappeared causing the market to crash.
They don’t make big budget films about the far right in Britain. In fact, it’s rare for any film to be made about it. But one was made last year based on the personal experiences of its director, Shane Meadows. These are my impressions of it.
IT’S 1983, the first day of the school summer holidays. We open with a couple of minutes of genuine archive footage. Mrs Thatcher appears, tearful crowds see the Falklands fleet out of harbour, then follow shots from some inane TV show – not really a contrast, as all these scenes are part of the same “spectacle”. Next come some disturbing shots of dead and wounded soldiers being hurriedly ferried away from a Falklands battlefield, and it’s these last that implicitly form a backdrop for the film itself.
Shaun, played by Thomas Turgoose, is a severely undersized 13-year-old North-country boy (the scene-setting is reminiscent of that in Ken Loach’s Kes). He has lost his father in the Falklands War. His mum (Jo Hartley) just doesn’t possess the inner resources to help him get over it, and he’s scoffed at and bullied at school.
One day he’s befriended by a gang of older kids - rather patronisingly, perhaps they want him as a mascot. They are punk/skinhead types, not political, indeed on the verge of criminality. Membership of the gang (which has one black member, a friendly and gentle boy called “Milky”) takes Shaun out of himself. The boys play fantasy/hunting games in derelict buildings: - a waste of time perhaps, but now Shaun feels that he’s needed and has a purpose.
But then an older member named Combo (Stephen Graham), whom we haven’t met before, rejoins the gang. He’s been in prison, manfully taking the rap, it seems, for one of the other members. He quickly re-establishes himself as the feared leader, and preaches a programme of white supremacy. A pivotal moment in the film has been reached, and the mood of the action changes.
Where has the joyous beat of the heart gone?
In the veinless, bloodless, joyless machine,
Illusion of our time.
Like a sunless gothic cathedral among the skyscrapers,
Without its chime - lost in the yawning heights of time.
Divine heart, you have slept too long in your primeval grave,
Waiting for the thunder to wake you up in your deep sleep!
But all that clamour couldn’t move you
You were falling deeper in your dream.
Until in the darkest darkness of my human heart,
I dreamt of the mysterious sun-ray that has come to wake you up,
Before the delightful dawn of time –from the coldest depths of
Unknown Life; from forgotten timeless spheres,
As soft as the white flower petals in warm summer nights
Comes the unknown delight!
The lost feeling - the old Eros; reborn out of time immemorial,
Deeper and warmer than all those passionate fires of cold modernity.
The poem I reproduce below was penned by a schoolgirl, Rebecca Sullivan as a (probably rather tiresome) homework assignment. Her subject matter was Remembrance Day: the 11th of the 11th. To continue with the BBC News report:-
Here then, with apologies for any excessive lugubriousness, is the poem - which I found myself forced to read from a slightly different but no less poignant perspective.
They lie there in their thousands
She stands there alone
She finds what she seeks
“Master thyself, then others shall thee beare”
But to have done instead of not doing
But elephant dung is great!
The Tate was accused yesterday of snubbing one of Britain’s foremost collections after it rejected a gift of 160 paintings that had been given pride of place at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Its director, Sir Nicholas Serota, said that the works did not deserve to be in a national collection, even though their five-month exhibition last autumn drew thousands of people to the Walker, one of the outstanding collections of fine art in Europe and part of National Museums Liverpool.
The works were painted by the Stuckists, an international group of artists founded in 1999 to promote traditional artistry, looking to the Old Masters for inspiration. Experts said that the artists had “inaugurated the rebirth of spirituality and meaning in art, culture and society”, with their works worth œ500,000, but the Tate was less than impressed.
Many know that Phil, an MR contributor is on vacation. Earlier I recieved a note telling of his wonderment of Rome. Well, Horace is closest I’ll be getting to Italy, Phil! What a lucky guy.
Don’t ask (it’s forbidden to know) what final fate the gods have
The message conveyed by this WWI propaganda poster still rings true: while a few struggle with the foe most smugly ignore the threat, choosing indulgence. In this war, the Real War, the foe isn’t across the ocean, the English Channel, or even in Fallujah, instead he occupies our very soil.
The art world is one of the most corrupted components of British society. It is filled with talentless professional eccentrics, poseurs and intellectual frauds and lightweights who daub with faeces and trade in pure shock value or boorish mundanity.
What might have been excusable were it no more than the surviving rump of 20th century modernism, refining perhaps the irony of Duchamps and Dali but not their outrageousness, has completely taken over the asylum. As Prince Charles famously said of architecture, the avant garde has become the establishment. It seems that there is no way back, for the structure of patronage and schooling which produced the great art of our European past cannot be replicated. Democracy, capitalism and the state have killed it off absolutely and forever.
The consequence, quite apart from the flight from beauty and the total failure of draughtsmanship, is that the general public has become hopelessly innured to badness. It traipses along to the galleries to be baffled, amused, entertained by the shock of the bad - in the process, naturally enough, creating a demand for more and yet more and worse badness. We know it’s all crudely unintellectual schlock of the lowest order, a sublime joke in which some Highfallutin Johnny Expert informs us with a perfectly straight face as to that before which we must genuflect. But still, it seems, we genuflect.
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