196 / Twombly revisited

There's good news: Cy Twombly's Three Studies … were removed from the central court of our art gallery; what a relief, no more do I cringe when I enter the AGNSW.

Twombly died last week, some would say a great loss to the art world; not me. Can't say I'll miss him, not that I knew the man (I'm sure he was nice enough) but I sure am familiar with his work and I have written about it before. This week I took issue with the rantings of the director of our art gallery in a letter to the newspaper. He lives on a different planet, that man:

Hmmm, I checked again, Friday’s letters page and today’s; but no, it seems no sentiments had been ruffled, no indignation bubbled to the surface, nobody seemed to mind the adulation heaped again on some execrable works of ‘art’ by the hauteur of our art gallery’s director.

Give me a break, Edmund Capon, don’t patronize me: “Sometimes people need a little bit of help recognising a great work of art that might be a bit unfamiliar.” A great work of art I do recognise, and without any help; a case of The Emperor’s New Clothes I recognise too. Capon preempts criticism quick smart with his lament that the works - which are not at all unfamiliar, Sir, we indeed see the sorts every day when the littlies come home from kindi - would invite comments of the “my six-year-old could paint better” variety … surely a put-down to all and sundry six-year-olds, for having their standards set so low.

Cy Twombly’s Three Studies … (subtle in their profundity? Oh dear) are an insult to the art-loving public, and to none more than our local artists who may have a hard time getting recognition, and public funds spent on their works (I know, the money for those scribbles had been raised specially). An insult particularly to William Turner - just have a look at The Fighting Temeraire … the painting that apparently had inspired Twombly; now there’s art to write about, to praise and admire.

When Capon waxes lyrical about Twombly’s connection to humankind, who “… has that instinctive and profound attachment to the continuity of life … here we are, beings of the 21st century, with the same instincts and sensibilities as our predecessors 2000 years ago” he displays a profound detachment from the instincts and sensibilities of this art-loving (I’ll only speak for myself) individual, who is thoroughly disgusted (and was 6 years ago when the deal went down) that $4.5m was wasted on those doodles.

The Fighting Temeraire

click for an enlargement