30
Sep 03

The Lexmark Prize for painting was set up with some noise earlier this year

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 324 views

The Lexmark Prize for painting was set up with some noise earlier this year. In The Guardian, at least, it was spun as an anti-Turner prize, against Serota, Saatchi and conceptual art. (If conceptual art is the unholy spirit in this trinity, then who is the Father and who the Son, by the way?) So far, so predictable.

But what’s this? In the International Art Blog, Meredith Etherington-Smith (Art Review, member of the Judging Panel for the Lexmark, 26th September entry) seems very pleased that the eventual winner, Christopher Ward, is already on show at the Saatchi Gallery. Chas bought some of Ward’s work from his degree show, apparently. Curse him, and his nasty distortion of the art market! Oh, hold on’

I’m sick of hearing how(el)ls from the pro-painting lobby, Stuckists and Ministers of State in coalition, lined up on the side of the Campaign for Real Art. I’m sick of them because they’re engaged in a campaign of suppression. They claim that conceptual art has some kind of stranglehold on the UK art world but if you go to the galleries where art is seen or bought and sold, even if you have a look around the Saatchi, painting is better-represented than any other form. The Campaign for Real Art want more, though, they want galleries and museums devoted exclusively to their hopelessly restrictive idea of what art can be.

For myself, though I liked some of the entries (especially Fleur Patrick’s), I don’t much like Ward’s work. It seems to me part of the current fashion for irritatingly psychedelic doodling (cf: Tal R) which reminds me of nothing more than the art of certain schoolmates of mine who were very fond of fungal stimulation. Give me a cold, intellectualised installation any day. I’ll be far more likely to respond emotionally.

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