Firstly, it’s important to point out that I am not a big fan of the YBAs, or indeed am anti Stuckism as a whole. In fact, I kind of admire the principles. The idea of bringing figurative painting back to the forefront of art, as a ‘rebuttal of the 20th century development of modernism’ actually strikes a chord with me, not that you would see it from any of my current artwork. But indeed the younger me was quite anti contempory abstract modernism, and spent a great deal of time arguing the case for more classical artists and their skills above that of say, Pollock, De Kooning and Klein.
However, what I find more than slightly annoying (let’s keep this PG rated hey) is 3 fold;
- The way they’ve gone about getting their point across
- Their ‘manifestos’
- The skill of some of the members of the Stuckists.
Let’s keep this as short as possible and fly through the points in that order. So, the way they’ve gone about this whole thing. Firstly, basing your name on an insult given by an ex-girlfriend is fine, but when that ex girlfriend happens to be Tracey Emin (who is, of course, one of the major players in the very art movement you are aiming your cause against) it smacks a little bit of craving attention. Using the very people whose art you are so against is more akin to that of a mediocre boxer who slags off a champion in order to get a shot at their title. Why not just let your art do the speaking? Instead of constant demonstrations against the turner prize, Saatchi, and the YBAs, why not just keep on improving your art, getting it into the right galleries, and gain attention via the way artists through the centuries have – through hard graft and the mastering of their craft?
Ok so I said I’d keep this short so I’ll bowl onto the next point – the ‘manifestos’. Here’s just a few of their more, shall we say, contentious, statements.....
#1 ‘artists who don’t paint aren’t artists’
#2 ‘The Stuckists are opposed to the current pretensions of so-called Brit Art …… and anything claiming to be art which incorporates dead animals or beds - mainly because they are unremarkable and boring’,
#3 That one of their aims is to ‘advance new figurative painting’.
Now – and quickly, we’re talking one line put downs here, let’s make a point about those wonderful statements.
#1 - So does this mean Rodin cannot be considered an artist? I'd love anyone to be able to argue that the 'gates of hell' or 'the thinker' are not works of art by an incredibly talented artist.
#2 – I’m definitely not a fan of Hirsts ‘the physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living’
or indeed ‘my bed’ by Emin
but I have to say they are far more remarkable and interesting then say, any of these pieces by Stuckist John Bourne (I apologise to Mr Bourne for singling him out like this).
#3 – ok so advancing new figurative painting – sorry but seriously? They’re acting as if artists such as Vermeer
never existed. That for some bizarre reason, in their minds, the works the Stuckists are turning out are somehow an advancement of the incredible figurative work of the fore mentioned artists. Right then, last real bug bearing point – the skill of some of these stuckists – I don’t feel I really need to go into much detail here – merely attach 2 pictures by Stuckist Mark D.
I admire the idea Mark, but the execution is one more like something I’d expect an 11 year old to bring home to be put on the fridge by an (inwardly) mortified mother.
So that's it, i admire the principles guys, but i'm not buying it. But then, as is often the case, i guess i'm missing the point.