Just Darts Since 2009
Does Art Have to Be Ugly?
August 7, 2008Posted by on
The Wall Street Journal has an article up questioning an exhibit being held at the de Young museum in San Francisco. The headline reads, “Decorative, Yes, but Why Does It Merit This Show?” The artist is Dale Chihuly, who works in glass. The author, David Littlejohn, describes the exhibition:
The word most commonly used by Chihuly-fanciers to describe the works is “beautiful,” a concept of little value in defining serious art after the Impressionists. Although some Chihuly objects appear snakelike or surreal, there is never anything troubling or challenging about them.
Now, is it really the art Mr. Littlejohn dislikes, or the kind of people who enjoy it?
While throngs of fans clicked away on their little cameras, I found myself nauseated by the grotesque, gleaming, pointless excess.
How condescending, how snide, how…
Wait a minute. Mr. Littlejohn was nauseated? How can that be?
…there is never anything troubling or challenging about them.
Oh! He meant “troubling” or “challenging” to the hoi polloi.
Perhaps Mr. Chihuly is being truly transgressive here. He’s upending the expectations of the art critics, and they don’t like it anymore than the rest of us poor schlubs.