Thursday, June 10, 2010

High Art in Christchurch

Today was a day for art. And a day for sun. Of course it's only the one day that I decide to walk where it rains. The rest of the weather here has been just lovely. But never mind that: Art!

Off I went in search of the Christchurch Art Gallery, and stepping inside I was – underwhelmed. I'm not going to lie. Me and art have never really seen eye to eye. I like graffiti, I like comic books, I like video games. These are art to me. Why some people claim that video games aren't art (I'm looking at you Ebert) is beyond me. If Saving Private Ryan is art, how could anyone deny that games like Modern Warfare 2 (which I happened to play some multiplayer recently of) are not? They're no different – except for perhaps that the video game allows you to enter the world, and creates more fear, tension, and emotional connection with the characters as you feel partially responsible for their safety. But never mind that – more on that tomorrow, when I sit down and give it a good go.

This art gallery? Some pictures. Some paintings. Some sculptures. And then there was an exhibit that made me reconsider things. As I've mentioned before, I don't like reconsidering things, or have new ideas brought to me – well I do like it, but if I've missed this, what else am I failing to consider?

This room – it presented science as art. It had basic experiments, some shooting little sparks as a pendulum scored oak like a giant wood burning kit – everyone's favourite childhood toy, until safety became an issue somewhere in the early nineteen nineties.

Science as art. And why shouldn't it be? Again – I didn't really like any of the pieces here, but as a concept, I thought it was very interesting. Much like the blue room upstairs, which features art of all types and forms that happens to be blue. This would have impressed me much more if I'd seen it before google added the colour filter to their image search program. Looking up “green” and then clicking to find all “red” results? That entertains me far more than it should.

As I made my way from the art gallery I headed for food – food that could be purchased with a credit card, as I'd been trying to avoid taking another withdrawal hit from the bank my whole time in country. Plus, I remembered that I earned points with my credit card. I don't really know what I'm going to do with these points, but I'd rather have points than no points, so credit card seemed to be the way to go.

Burger King.

Man, I tell you – I have probably tripled or quadrupled my lifetime Whopper intake in the last few months. Who knew it was so good? Who knew. If one graphed it, there would be a huge 2010 Whopper spike. But moving on, I made my way to the library after eating, where I planned to read the four “Sleeper” trades. Unfortunately, shelving them together yesterday may have been a mistake as all four with now withdrawn. Never to fear, I found the two Vinyl Underground trades. These are comics I'd been meaning to read for some time, and ones that came back on my radar a few months back while reading the news for such graphic-novel magazines.

Vinyl Underground: It's about these kids in London being paranormal detectives. But it's better than that, in that it gives you a really good history of some of London's prominent, and less prominent, locations. And, as it was canceled early - but with warning – it tells a nice complete 12 issue story, that feels only slightly rushed towards the end. Better than the hanging ending of Books of Magic though. Poor, un-concluded, Tim Hunter.

After spending a few hours digesting, and once more falling comfortably under the spell of, the comics I headed out of the library to find the contemporary art gallery before it closed. Just down the street from the public library, it was not a hard challenge. But the gallery itself? Also less than impressive. What was a good selling point, thought, is that this was a sales gallery. Sure it was an art gallery, but one where every piece had a price tag attached to it. Just as the – dare I say – heroine in Shopaholic craved so much for. You could see the pieces, and then think, huh? Eight thousand? Really? Before coming across much better pieces prices at the still unreasonable one thousand. I think that artists must be the most ridiculous of people. I mean, honestly, either their audacious or mad.

One piece was a number of Warhammer figures, uncut from their grey square containment, unpainted, lined in a row. The price? Five thousand. Anyone could recreate this for one hundred dollars. Therre was nothing special, no deeper meaning, much like a construction paper book opened and framed. Now – to as that price, they either believe that they've created something profound – mad – or they know it's crap and they're trying to pawn it off – audacious.

Art. Modern art. Ridiculous. Now drawings, paintings (that look like something – even if stylized, that look like SOMETHING) those I can go with. An if you show me some original Humberto Ramos sketches? Well then we'd be talking – but Warhammer figurers? No thanks. If that's art, then just about every geekshop in the world is an art gallery. They cut, and paint theirs too. Line them up and put them on sale for tens of thousands! That seems about right in this market, yeah?

Only so long could be spent around such foolishness before I tired, and took the bus back home, where more Modern Warfare 2 was played in terrible multiplayer action, leaving me quite defeated more often than not. I remember when I was the young one, and – you know – good at these things. How times change.

Whatever, I've been around the world! (And thus the travel snob begins to emerge. I must beat it back away into the dark where it belongs. No one likes a travel snob. Any story that begins, “when I was in...” is destined to fail.)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Dude,
    Really your thought will be a great mainstream for those who are looking for Art For Sale. As it sounds very good though i would like to light it at the wall of my facebook.
    Art For Sale


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