David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

10 April 2016

Secret Art of TAR

'Future Tense' this morning had a timely follow-on to yesterday's post in which our correspondent visited the NGV and experienced two very different scenes of Theatre of the Actors of Regard :
Antony Funnell: 'What will art look like in the future' is the topic you will be addressing at the NGV, and in talking to that theme, when you cast ahead you see art splitting into two, don't you. Let's start there, explain the two dimensions of art that you see developing.
Ben Davis: Well, I review museum and gallery art. So for me, the question is really what do we expect a museum to look like in the future? And I think it is a time of tremendous strain and stress for artists who work within that space because of technological change, because there is such a competition for attention at greater and greater scales, then you have people working in the tradition of the museum and painting and sculpture and in more adventurous media, but they have to fight for attention in that space.
So I think you see two directions developing, one is more and more spectacular turn in the museum where art looks more and more like theme parks for adults, very spectacular interactive environments that are crowd pleasing and interesting, but you don't necessarily need to know anything about art or art history in order to engage with that kind of contemporary art. That's one direction that museums are taking in the United States where I work and around the world.
And then, this is a little bit more speculative but I see sort of in a similar way to how there's a lot of talk about the culture of mindfulness and meditation, and it's so clearly this reaction to feeling over-wired and looking for space in a world where you are bombarded by information. So I do think there is a place for museums in the future as…the very fact that they house this old kind of culture that comes from a different time period, was built with a different rhythm in mind, I think it's possible that that becomes a virtue in this world we live in, and that art makes a virtue of its silence. I think that's more speculative, that's me speculating on what art's strengths really are within this world, this changing media world. But it's a hypothesis about the future that I have.
Antony Funnell: The first conception of art that you see, that idea of it becoming much more theme park style I suppose, networked and immersive, when it gets to that stage though will we still think of it as art, do we still think of it as art? What qualities does it have to retain in order for it to be art and not just entertainment or an experience?

Ben Davis: I think that's a big question. I think it's a dangerous road for art to go down. The name of my talk is Digital Art and Danger because I have that very question. For instance, in the United States...
After a quick survey, our correspondent had sought refuge from the Warhol-Weiwei fun fair. First in the Asian section, where the NGV Teens Art Party dance squad rehearsal music extruding from the Great Hall intruded on the likelihood of quietude.

Then with the few regarding 'Whistler's Mother'.

And eventually, in a nook, sharing regard with the Last Connoisseur and his attentive company. 

They too competed in this MUSEUM with the NGV Teens Art Party bombardment by MUSE and their Knights of Cydonia :
Come ride with me through the veins of history
I'll show you a god who falls asleep on the job
And how can we win when fools can be kings?
Don't waste your time or time will waste you 
No one's gonna take me alive
The time has come to make things right
You and I must fight for our rights
You and I must fight to survive
Attending this intimate Theatre of the Actors of Regard was the highlight of the day's visit.

After the Up Yours gestures of Ai Weiwei and the child imitators, and the mudras of the Buddha of Limitless Light, this TAR double blessing from the light and from the dark was experienced as an act of rare and special witness.

Thus we return to where we started this, to Ann Stephen's 1969: Retrieving the Black Box of Conceptual Art and therein to Mel Ramsden's Secret painting and from there to the other side of this secret holding, to the Secret Art of TAR.

Theatre of the Actors of Regard 
 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...