Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Monday morning I was mildly tepid with righteous indignation. By Monday evening Real Life had intervened, in the form of #3 Daughter getting the opportunity to move into her new apartment two weeks earlier than originally planned, and on Tuesday morning Real Life again intervened, but in a different way. Ergo, by today: eh.

In Monday's post I meant no offense to Mr. Holm personally. I'm sure he's a swell guy, just as I'm equally sure it was the reporter's choice to quote a paragraph of sophomoric twaddle and declare it profound. Sadly, the argument that he's been around for a long time and they had to give him an award before it became posthumous gets little traction with me, as I've seen the same argument used to justify decades of Nebula Grand Master awards voting. Some years it actually goes to someone whose body of work is significant. Most years — well, we have to give the award to someone, and [insert name here] has paid his or her dues...

People over on the capital-A Art side of the world really don't seem to realize that it is largely their own behavior that convinces everyone else Modern Art in all its myriad forms is a scam. In school, Art is perceived as a dodge, for bourgeois children who don't want to study real subjects or get jobs after they graduate. (Think of the flakiest people you knew in college: yes, they were all Psych majors, but the second flakiest people were usually to be found in one of the Art departments.)

Post-school, Art seems more like a classic political spoils system, by which state arts funding, corporate donations, and foundation grant money is redistributed to those with the right connections. Minnesota in particular has a wonderfully effective arts funding system, by which large amounts of public sector cash are pumped into producing music no one listens to, plays no one performs, books no one reads, and paintings and sculptures no one enjoys. And another day, I might have more to say about this. But today—

Eh. Let them have their fund. Er, fun.

Meanwhile, over in the U.K., the finalists for this year's £25,000 Turner Prize have been announced. This, as you might remember, is the prize that last year went to an artist who dressed in a bear suit and created a replica of someone else's 2001 anti-war protest in Parliament Square, and previously went to an embalmed half of a cow. Personally, my money this year (at 11/4 odds) is on Glaswegian Cathy Wilkes, who uses commonplace objects to create sculptures that "touch on issues of femininity and sexuality."

Wilkes sculpture

But hey; what do I know about Art?