If you’ve read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand you will know who I’m talking about when I say Ellsworth Toohey. For those of you who haven’t read the book, Toohey is a character whose prime motivation is control of the populous by persuading them that mediocrity is good. Promote the mediocre and tell everyone that it’s important. Then they will believe that pop music, graffiti, screams of “fuck you” at Tate Modern, for example, is great art. The horror of it is that this isn’t Ayn Rand’s novel; it is the reality of now in London: supposedly the art capital of the world.
This is the way someone is controlling what is acceptable and important and what is not. If you take a second-rater and promote him/her as the best thing since sliced bread, while at the same time buying large quantities of his/her output, you will have control of the artist, the press, and the broadcast media. From there the sky is the limit. You might even persuade the Nobel committee to give them a Prize. Is that too ludicrous to contemplate?
Unfortunately the mediocrity of the curators has reduced the Giacometti exhibition at Tate Modern to second rate. Here are the works of one of the most important 20th Century sculptor/painters turned into something that would be viewed as ordinary in a supermarket or department store. Ordinary is great!
The viewing experience is laughable. Written explanations on a distant wall, about exquisite tiny sculptures that are barely visible across the room. Barely visible because they are ranked in files like the Chinese ceramic warriors. Wall colours that suck the life from Giacometti’s paintings.
Here is an example of Ellsworth Toohey at work: It’s akin to taking a Beethoven quartet and turning it into elevator muzak, charging the public for riding the elevator and then telling them that they’ve had a life changing experience.
The exhibition continues until 10th September at Tate Modern.
I’m including this image of one of my recent paintings because it reminds me of Giacometti. I wish I knew why. Perhaps you’ll tell me.