Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Emperor's New Clothes

This morning Katharine and I went to the Guggenheim museum off Cenral Park here in New York.

This museum is considered one of the most important collections of modern art in the world.

And I'm ashamed to admit I thought approximately 95% of the exhibition was complete bollocks.

Most of a very large crowd viewing the pieces wouldn't agree with me of course. They were oohing and ahhing at perfectly smooth stones you could find on any decent English beach. They were cooing their admiration at various mathmatical shapes placed seemingly at random on the canvas. And they were positively wetting themselves at hollow perspex boxes.

It bought to mind the old tale of the Emperor's new clothes. He and everyone else were conned into believing he had bought a beautiful new suit. And because noone wanted to raise an objection, he went around naked!

I wonder how many people actually could understand the various messages the "artists" were trying to convey in their works. Very few I would guess. And the pretentious little pieces of writing explaining the artifacts next to each piece just exacerbated the whole surreal experience.

So what has this got to do with poker? Probably nothing.

But, the visit got me thinking. Received wisdom should be questioned.

Just because some rich art collector pays $1 million for 3 red circles on a piece of canvas doesn't mean the "work of art" is actually worth this ludicrous amount.

In a tournament, often someone goes allin and 4 players call and check it down to try and knock him out. It is perceived this is the correct play. But regularly it isn't.

We shouldn't be pressured into accepting a deal at the latter stages of a competition becaus "we always do it here". Only accept the deal if it is favourable to us.

Received wisdom isn't always wrong. But, it is incorrect often enough to make it worthwhile thinking about every situation carefully even if it appears to be ABC.

Don't let the bullies win. Do what's right for you, not what they say "is in the good of the game". Because, if truth be told, the person arguing for the good of the game is more likely to be arguing for the good of himself!


Blogger Jim "The Bandit" Britton said...

when I was 14 I shagged a 20 year old model...i fought that was a work of art.

Jim "The Bandit" Britton

3:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But would you have botherd mentioning beautiful paintings of trees or puppies? If it makes you feel SOMETHING then its art my man.

4:10 AM  
Blogger chaos said...

I see. A man goes to his local art museum, he pays the entrance fee and wangers into the museum. There are no exhibitions from any artists anywhere. He is disappointed. Not only was he pissed at seeing no art, because he was pissed he couldn't ask for his money back. The exhibition of nothingness invoked emotions in him. Sorry no refund.

The attitude that something is artistic if it evokes emotion truly beggars belief and ultimately justifies any form of indulgence and brandishes us all as artists and all of our actions as works fo out. The need for an identity or to appear aloeuf prevails across the arts imo.

Can anything make you feel nothing? It's beginning to feel like Descartes territory.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No its not art because it makes you feel something but all art makes us feel be it music, film,theatre,poetry etc. If you dont feel something then you must be shallow in the extreme.surley you dont just relate to it on a purely visual level.Its all about how we as individuals relate to it.Its not always about understanding it because each person can take something different from it. Im no expert and I used to think all modern art stank.

10:35 AM  
Blogger chaos said...

If anyone is out of his depth on art it is certainly me. That aside I feel there is a flaw in your logic. I can buy your argument that anything that makes us feel isn't art but that all art makes us feel. It's debatable, I guess, but I can believe that it might be true. However, Keith has observed something that has made him feel; by your definition or description of art it might be art; it might not be. If he feels nothing then it isn't art, but if he feels something then it could be.

It reminds me of a quote then came about when Ronald Reagan died. For me it typified many Americans mindset.

Ronald Reagan: 'You know what my problem is [to advisor]? I'm an idealist'
Advisor: 'Mr President, what you're saying is that you're an American'

That certainly isn't verbatim but that was the drift. Of course being an American might well mean you’re an idealist, but it insults the rest of the world to suggest that being an idealist implies you're an American. It may have just been a manner of speaking, but I thought it was insightful - and I'm certainly not on the ante American bandwagon.



3:56 PM  
Blogger Radmila said...

Great post.
I can't tell you how many times I've been to exhibits where I've had the same experience.
While others are pontificating, and ooohing and ahhhing on the "brilliance" of the artist, all I could think of was what a brillant con it was.

9:29 AM  

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