28
May 04

I used to vaguely agree

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 322 views

I used to vaguely agree with the notion that you didn’t actually need to see conceptual art; it was the concept that mattered. Then I did go and see some and of course I realised how wrong I’d been. A lot of Young British Art (& other art, but it’s YBA that’s sadly in the headlines this week) does operate from what seems to me a juvenile impulse, but not the ‘desire to shock’ some critics parrot. What seems to animate conceptualists is what animated me when I started off on some elaborate doodle in a boring lesson – “what would it look like if…?”. If I join up these dots or make this pattern; if Damien Hirst slices a cow in half. We can imagine half a cow, or a giant anatomical toy, but there’s a childlike delight in actually seeing these things, and I’d guess that’s what animates a lot of artists and a lot of art lovers. I don’t think that sense of gosh-wow wonder is the only thing art can achieve now, and maybe it isn’t the highest thing it can do, but it is a good thing to do.

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