Juvenilia

The visual arts carry on down the road to complete irrelevance. A storm in a teacup is currently brewing around the series of pictures by Brazilian artist Gil Vicente which went on display recently at the Sao Paulo Art Biennial. The charcoal drawings depict the artist about to assassinate a number of world figures, including the Pope, George Bush, Ariel Sharon, the Queen and Ahmadinejad.

The most immediately shocking thing about these pictures – called collectively ‘Enemies’ - is the terrible quality; they look like the kind of thing you might see scrawled on the pad of a bored, fantasising teenage school pupil.

But then, that would be quite apt, for the idiot-child lack of sophistication in the ‘message’ is utterly depressing. “Because they kill so many other people, it would be a favour to kill them, understand?’ said Mr Vicente. ’Why don’t people in power and in the elite die?”

Oh, just put your crayons back in the box, sit down and shut up. The insights offered by far too many contemporary artists are so bland, so inane, so completely predictable it confirms one in the view that far from ‘challenging’ the viewer, they are, with their ‘edgy’ offerings, now consigned to the position of simply bringing up the rear, culturally speaking.    

Unless of course you are an equally idiotic potential buyer: there are indeed many of these around, labouring under the illusion that this tat actually means something. The price of Mr Vicente’s edginess? Around £165, 000.       

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