Thursday, 15 March 2007

Pinstripe Suits and Modern Art

I really think that men should absolutely not in any situation wear pinstripe pants. And not on pain of death should they ever wear a pinstripe suit. Another thing that should not be worn, especially by males, is a shirt with collar and cuffs of a different colour to the rest of the shirt.

Sadly, today, I have to endure this, as one of the guys from work is wearing these two monstrosities in combination. He’s a nice guy, and it's not that he himself is unattractive, it's just the outfit (I sure hope he doesn’t read this blog!). But it’s so far from attractive I want to exhibit him as a nouveau piece in one of those art galleries that get away with ugly art by calling it modern. Now I like some modern art, and I can certainly appreciate originality, but some stuff really is just crap done by people who smoke cigarettes through an Audrey Hepburn-style holder and call everyone darling, or who slash their clothes and skin into pieces and throw paint around the room.

You’ll never hear me advocating a restriction on freedom of expression – every plum has it’s peach and I think people should be able to fully express themselves in whatever way floats their proverbial boat. But when studious art critics pass by a beautiful work of art made by someone who has worked for years on their talent for a canvas that someone has thrown brown paint all over, I really wonder why. I think that’s my pet peeve with art – a one or two colour painting. If it had form, fine. It’s like a different take on a black and white photo. But if it’s just a colour drawn in a square, why bother?

One of my first favourite pieces of art was actually made my high school art teacher, Mike Howell. As far as I can remember, it was a large board with various squiggles and shapes in different shades of pink and white, with bits coming off the side and a wooden frame stuck on it. The words on the painting said ‘of course it’s art, matches the colour scheme and it’s got a nice wood frame’. To my 13 year old mind that was brilliant.

Art means different things to different people, to be sure, but to my aesthetic sensibilities (such as they are) I would rather not look at a sloppy sculpture of mud or a canvas with one colour or someone’s bed surrounded by beer bottles. I saw a beautiful exhibition a few weeks back at the City Gallery in Civic Square by Peter Madden called Escape from Orchid City. It was highly original and lovely. There were butterflies, there were skulls, there was a wardrobe covered in gold leaf and glass, and I thought it was beautiful.

Goodness, I didn’t realise I would get into discussing modern art vs. beauty when I started out talking about my colleagues bad outfit.

COMING UP – Watch this space for an interview with Tommy Benefield, previously of Tommy, now of Tommy and The Fallen Horses, one of my favourite New Zealand artists.


Justin said...

HA! So Andy and I did rub off on you!

Charlette said...

Can I just add to this that I went to the art gallery in Civic Square on the weekend, and one of the exhibits was a pile of popcorn? I don't think I need to say more.