I watched, from a safe distance, as they prepared the 'Open Art' exhibition at the museum this morning. As part of what they refer to as 'Community Involvement,' using that meaningless word 'Community,' we do this each year. The art is often local amateurs although some folks make good money from this type of event. Last year some of it as always made no sense and still other items were excellent and deserved a good sale. I mention this as I had come across this story in the 'Daily Mail,' this morning. What Tracey Emin called her 'confessional self portrait' is being sold by owner Charles Satchi and is expected to go for around £1.2 million. Satchi of course is renown for spending squllions of pounds on modern art. As I looked at the art being piled together awaiting hanging I compared it to Emin's efforts and noted once again how false the art world is. Art at the expensive end is not based on talent but on what sells. All sorts of muck can masquerade as 'art,' if the 'artist' places it before a dumb enough 'desperate to be accepted by the chattering classes' rich guy. Russian friends of that nice Mr Putin appear keen to put their (well, Russia's) money into art and will pay millions for anything that is modern and available. To expect them to actually appreciate art may be filling the wrong samovar. Her money grasping friend Damien Hurst I note has gold plated, well his staff have gold plated, a skeleton of a dead beastie, canny mind what, which will grace the art world and make trillions from some mindless sap with too much off other folks cash to launder. This is not art, this is taking sweeties from babies.
Now I accept that what I call art and what you call art are different. We are different people, our cultures are different, our backgrounds vary, our life experience cannot be the same and this means we see what is presented as 'art' through our own eyes. I accept that a mess on a wall might be an expression of an artists emotions, however the stuff I drew at school, all abstract and going nowhere, might have been an expression of my inner soul, but it may possibly be that I am just unbalanced. Quiet at the back! Anyway one was placed on the school wall, so the teacher either liked it, appreciated my effort or fancied me. He certainly fancied that curly haired teacher in the class next door. The janitor probably dumped my esteemed artwork in the bin later. Had I been less scrupulous and more determined to alter the world through art I might have been rich!
Anyway I blame Thatcher! It was her idea of closing all the psychiatric hospitals to save a few pennies that allowed all these 'artists' to walk the streets when they could be inside out of harms way getting the treatment they desperately require.
In a month or two the Tour de France takes its usual deviation out of France and passes close to the town. Two miles up the road preparations are under way for the mass influx of people who will venture out to watch the bikes flash past at thirty miles an hour and disappear over the bridge and never be seen again. That's it! Up here they will not race just stick together as they cover the miles, sorry kilometers! It is later, down near London itself, that the action hots up. Here we will see little and to find a spot to observe this will be very difficult. However the kids today were entranced by making masks featuring bikes, and good masks they were too. The kids were pleased with their efforts and mum was happy as it was free plus by escaping out the back door they avoided the kids entering the shop and spending their cash. Bah!
We had several visitors, Gran and Granddads bringing kids dumped on them for the day, others reminiscing about their local past and a couple from Georgia who know Stone Mountain. All these it must be said paid only the concession rate! Most were cheery but one attempted to question why Scotland should be independent, even being silly enough to believe the papers that 'England pays for Scotland.' I soon put him right on that. The English cannot conceive Scots attitudes. To them we are all the same but they have not been treated as second class. This area of course is far from Scotland and very much a backwater in some respects. Scotland could be Greenland as far as some here know, but money is important to them and the feeling that they pay for Scots benefits hurts, even though it is a lie!
The Georgia couple were not very friendly. Usually the Americans come to see their ancestors or the old airfields they were once based. I am not sure what this couple wanted but he was very offhand. She did the buying postcards bit and I managed to
force a book on her suggest a suitable book of old photos that might help. The house they believe their ancestor lived in they had identified and that pleased them but I refrained from suggesting a walk round the cemetery to find a suitable grave as the weather is dreich and he might have suggested putting me there. He's an American so probably was carrying a gun! Still I got just over £10 out of them but wish I could have cheered them up somewhat. Possibly the weather pout them off, possibly tiredness possibly the town itself. The town is not the greatest place to visit in the rain or even in the sunshine! At least I know one Georgian lass who would enjoy it here whatever the weather.