Monday, 26 May 2008

Mousquay versus Banksy: Tate Modern banks on Street and Graffiti Art

Mouse has been on his travels and has not blogged for a bit and I have plenty of questions for him. What is art? A tired question, but still I find myself asking Mouse after a news article. He seemed a bit reluctant to respond, but topping up his glass of port has a marvelous effect. 'Well, it used to be in the eye of the beholder', he laughs, 'or perhaps not'. I wonder how many glasses of port he has had. 'Take Banksy, he muses, 'the work is creative, but Bristol City Council were happy to eliminate his work, after all, do all manifestations of creativity have to be kept in perpetuity? Then we saw a combination of recognition and consultation back in the Summer of 2006 and Bristol keeps a Banksy near the council offices. And no doubt the council will argue it supports street art in general, and with some justification.'

So what is he saying, that art is not only creative and has to be recognised? Mouse takes another sip from his glass, 'The Tate Modern has invited graffiti artists to decorate the exterior walls of the gallery, a listed building no less. But the images are to be washed away in a few months. Perhaps it only has to be recognized for a time, perhaps it is an advertising gimmick, perhaps it is still all in the eye of the beholder', he says winking and goes on, 'perhaps permanence is not important and a gallery is just another museum once an object is lifted out of context.' But this is specially commissioned work, I think I neatly argue. Mouse laughs, and I can tell I've missed the point. 'All you need is to take a digital image, and the work can be recreated...' He glances at his empty glass indicating he would like the state of the glass from a few moments ago recreated. I head for the port but he has wandered off in search of chocolate biscuits.

Monday, 5 May 2008

The Collector is dead, long live the collector. Antiques and Art are a hit.

Mouse has been a tad busy lately, so he has missed a couple of blogs. He is a cheery type. He has been looking to the future quite a lot lately, it is probably the sunshine I think. 'What we need to do', he mumbles through a mouthful of chocolate biscuits and wiping the crumbs from his whiskers, "is to get an integrated concept of art, design and antiques into our psyche... ". Puzzled, I interrupt and ask him what he means. Through slurps of ginger beer he elaborates, "Well, we might have to accept that the dedicated collector is on the way out". I think my worried look spurs him to become a bit more expansive. "Look, it's not a problem, we might be looking at reducing numbers of the monotheistic dedicated collector, but we could be seeing the rise of a new generation of collector."
From left to right, Art Nouveau Copenhagen, Kerry Goodwin design for Cobridge and a L Hjorth figure. Age span 100 years, roughly!

I think I am catching his drift, but I can tell he's not convinced. He continues. "We need to instill a new attitude of integration between the new and the old. Instead of antiques being a niche market, we should be working for them to become a fully integrated part of decoration and design. So a buyer is just as likely to buy a glass from a dealer as say, IKEA. We need to market and advertise ourselves very differently". I puzzle about this for a minute or two, wondering how to set about this. But it's too late, Mouse has wandered into the garden, vizor in hand, off to his favorite deck chair. There'll be no shifting him before the twilight.