Sunday 20 May 2012

The Pseudo-Intellectual's New Clothes

I have just read something that has made me rant mercilessly to Mrs PM and the cats. In order to escape me, Mrs PM has left the house and the cats have run to those little hidey holes in the house that are Plastic Mancunian proof (behind their litter trays).

I need to let off steam, so unfortunately, dear reader, you are my metaphorical punch bag to allow me to get this off my chest.

Regular readers will know that I have a big problem with pseudo-intellectuals, particularly those who love contemporary art and accuse me of being an unimaginative moron who lives in a box.

I have posted about such buffoons before (read about it here and here) but yesterday, I read something that takes this to an even more ridiculous level.

There is an exhibition about to start at the Hayward Gallery in London that will “set imaginations on fire”.

I can guess that you might consider this to be an intellectually challenging exhibition featuring the most amazing new pieces of contemporary art that will quite literally blow you away in a cascading and exponentially developing miracle of thought-provoking rapture (sorry about that, dear reader – I stole those words from a pseudo-intellectual who had just looked up the words cascade, exponential, miracle and rapture on a web site about philosophy).

The cost of this exhibition is £8, a paltry sum, I’m sure you will agree, for something that will give your imagination the mental equivalent of a screaming orgasm.

What do you get for your £8?


Absolutely nothing.

Nada! Nichts! Rien! Niente!


Yes, that’s right; the world of contemporary art has stooped to depths lower than even a total cynic like me could imagine.

They are exhibiting NOTHING!!

Allow me to elaborate.

You will see Invisible Sculpture, a “work” by Andy Warhol; an empty plinth, which, apparently, the man stepped on for a brief moment.

You can also feast your eyes on 1000 Hours of Staring; a blank piece of paper (yes you read that correctly – A BLANK PIECE OF PAPER) that the artist, a certain Mr Tom Friedman, stared at on and off for a period of five years.

The same artist has another exhibit and I’ll bet you can barely contain yourself about this one. It is called Untitled (A Curse) and features an empty space which has supposedly been cursed by a witch. That’s right, dear reader – AN EMPTY SPACE!!

How about an empty room by Yoko Ono, where the viewer is encouraged to “conjure up artwork in their minds”? I’m sorry but the blogging equivalent of that is for me to post something called Nothing and let you, dear reader, imagine more of my inane bullshit. Surely that’s MY job as a blogger.

It sounds like a complete joke – but they are serious – totally and utterly serious.

The director of the gallery has said (and I am not making this up): 

“I think visitors will find that there is plenty to see and experience in this exhibition of invisible art”.

He also added: 

“From the amusing to the philosophical, you will be able to explore an invisible labyrinth that only materialises as you move around it, see an artwork that has been created by the artist staring at it for 1000 hours, walk through an installation designed to evoke the afterlife, and be in the presence of Andy Warhol’s celebrity aura.”

Yes – this pseudo-intellectual mad man actually uttered those words to a national newspaper. And, of course, he had to mention philosophy (what pseudo-intellectual nonsense would be complete without the word philosophy?)

The world has gone crazy; totally and utterly crazy. If this is supposed to be the height of intellect in the world then we, as a species, are doomed.


Actually, that’s not true. The people who will undoubtedly flock to this so-called exhibition are the pseudo-intellectual fools. I could get the same experience staring at my wall and unleashing my sick and sordid imagination to picture an epic war occurring on the plaster.

And it wouldn’t cost me a bloody thing.

The traditional story of The Emperor’s New Clothes has never been more relevant to the rubbish that most modern art is. The parallels are there for everybody to see.

I am almost tempted to gate-crash the exhibition and stand there in every room stating the bleeding obvious.

“There is nothing here. There is nothing worth seeing. There is actually nothing to see. This is an empty room.”

Alternatively, I could pay my £8 and walk in totally naked and say “What do you think of my new outfit? It is straight from the imagination of Rene Descartes; it’s called the Invisible Suit”

Would they DARE to throw me out?

I could even charge them for their own set of Descartes clothes - £500 a pop. Do you think I’ll get away with it?

I’ll finish with some good news; I have created for you a piece of invisible art that will save you from going to the exhibition. It is in the frame below and it is simply called The Pseudo-Intellectual’s New Clothes.

And it costs exactly what it shows.



MedicatedMoo said...

Benny Hill in a blender .... what on EARTH is the UK spending their money on in their efforts to put sprinkle (or should I say 'excrete') some kulcha in amongst the Olympics?

It's not your cats who have more sense - what they do in their litter trays have more sense!

Cathy said...

Oh.My.God. And this is a serious exhibition? People pay to get in? It gets reviews in the press? Next we'll have students handing in invisible exams and inviting the examiner to imagine the answers. Or authors publishing blank books where you fill in your own story. Or blockbuster films featuring a blank screen. The world has officially gone crazy.

Anonymous said...

I love it! Or rather I love your rant. I am a great lover of art, and like you, I think a lot of modern art is total crap. A total rip-off. A bunch of people laughing up their sleeves at what fools these mortals be.

I used to give my friends little tours of Museums, giving sotto voice commentary about the "art" exhibited there - and actually having strangers stop and listen and agree with my profound explanations of the meaning of a bunch of Brillo boxes glued together and painted blue only on the fronts (a Warhol creation by the way) or whatever bit of "art" made me laugh in derision.

Sorry folks I have no idea why a canvas painted black - that's all, nothing else - is art. Or a huge canvas painted white with a darker white stripe running down the art (I am referring to Ad Reinhardt).

It took me a long time to appreciate Jackson Pollack but yes, I think what he did was art. And while I understand, intellectually, what the Cubism is all about it still leaves me cold and I still get the feeling I am being had...

What's that old saying "I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like"...

Emperor's new clothes indeed...

Jackie K said...

Oh I so want to see that exhibition! Is it real?? Is it a kind of hoax?
And I think they would LOVE it if you walked in there in your invisible suit :)
I admit I love modern art especially things like this, because they are funny but also, in some way, they do manage to make a kind of statement.
In this case that statement might be a trick on the audience like The Emperor's New Clothes, or it could be a statement that the viewer creates the art with their perception as much as the artist...
Who knows :)

River said...

I think you should go to the exhibition, and loudly state "there is nothing here, when do the exhibits arrive?". Then demand your money back.

Anji said...

Apparently I can't leave a blank comment.

But what does it all MEAN?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

I am thinking of submitting a piece based on the contents of my cat's litter tray, actually.

Not sure what to call it though.

"Catastrophe" perhaps?




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Cathy,

Yes it is a serious exhibition.

Here's a link ...

To be fair - it is only really pseudo-intellectuals that have gone crazy - but I've known that for years.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Grace,

I've seen works like that. The crazy thing is, that I could do it. So could you. The problem is convincing pseudo-intellectuals that it is worth a fortune. If you can do that and learn to speak utter garbage in the style of a drunk philosopher then you can rake it in.

I'm certain of it.

Thankfully, there is a part of me that forbids it.

But it is oh so tempting...




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

When I first read it, I had to check the date - I thought it might be April Fool's day.

Again, here's the link:

I simply don't get it. And I'm glad.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

The temptation is almost overwhelming. I hope it comes to Manchester - where hopefully some of the exhibits might get stolen and sold on eBay. Mind you, nobody would know, would they?




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Anji,

This particular post has already generated 423 comments, most of which are "invisible".

I have replied to each and every one of them by staring at the "Leave your comment" box for 10 seconds at a time.




Pandora Behr said...

I get what you're saying - but then again, you have sense - others dont. I'm sort of with Jackie - I like modern art and the boundaries it pushed - but I'm unsure if I would take it that far.

Feel better for the rant?


drb said...

hahaha the exhibition is brillant! The gallery did not trick you. The theme was indeed "Invisible". You decided to pay 8 pounds to see something INVISIBLE.

Now, who is the fool or who is crazy?

Do you expect to see something invisble? Of course not! or maybe you thought you are Superman?
So, you thought you can feel something invisible? You did! You felt something didn't you?

I salute the curator who put together the invisible art pieces.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Ranting ALWAYS makes me feel better.

I can understand the need or desire to push boundaries but in my opinion a work of art has to be pleasing to the eye - not bloody well invisible and not just a wall daubed red with a blue stripe at one end called something like "Morbid happiness".




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I too salute him - for exploiting pseudo intellectuals.

I would do it if I had the chance.

And I would never pay £8 to see nothing.