natural art criticism
Post #590 • July 27, 2005, 4:30 PM • 62 Comments
Asianophile geeks like myself might remember a scene from The Karate Kid in which Miyagi explains that sometimes, a tree, with no intervention by humans, naturally grows into bonsai; such natural bonsai trees are to be protected and treasured. I observe that sometimes, people with no expertise in art create a kind of super-art-criticism that surpasses normal art criticism with its irrefutability. This natural art criticism is also to be treasured.
A water company has given notice to a work of art which has already shed enough water to sprinkle half the lawns in Surrey. ... "Well that's it, isn't it?" Mark McGowan said miserably after a formal notice from Thames Water that if he does not turn the tap off, it will cut off the water to the entire gallery. "One way or another, I reckon it will be gone by Thursday. ...
He turned on the cold water tap, running into a sink in the kitchen space of the small artist-run House gallery in Camberwell, south-east London, on June 28.
He intended to leave it running for a year - to highlight, he insists, the way people waste water.
Thames Water, already facing fierce criticism over the worst leakage from broken pipes of any water company in the country, was not amused. ...
The irony was that in the course of producing the work, McGowan has become messianic about water wastage: yesterday he spluttered with outrage about people washing their teeth or cleaning vegetables under a running tap. At the weekend he denounced a family member for running the washing machine daily for only a handful of clothes.
Yesterday a spokesman for Thames Water confirmed that it had started legal proceedings. "We tried everything possible to reach a compromise - we would have been happy to work with him on collecting and recycling the water. But there was a very strong groundswell of opinion among our customers that we should do something about this."
"My theory is it's the people who get most angry who go away and waste the most water," whined the artist, whose work had already poured 800,000 liters of water down the drain. UPADATE: Let me emphasize here that had the work run its one-year course, it would have dumped 9.6 million liters of water.
Also in the Guardian: Thirsty art lover suspected of drinking sculpture.
The sculpture, a plastic bottle of water full of melted ice from the Antarctic, was intended to be a telling comment on the dangers of global warming. But one light-fingered, and presumably thirsty, visitor to the exhibition may have missed the point.
Rather than musing on the hazards that will be created if the icecaps melt, the visitor is believed to have drunk the piece.
Police have been called in to investigate the mystery of the missing water bottle, which vanished from the Way With Words literary festival at Dartington Hall in south Devon.
They are not sure if the thief knew the water was part of a sculpture and drank it as a joke or if he mistook it for an ordinary bottle of water. Officers also admit it is possible that another member of staff thought the piece was just a discarded bottle and threw it away.
You see what I mean by irrefutable.