As I’ve admitted before, I don’t know much about art but I know what I like. And I like it meaningful and not necessarily so pretentious that it disappears up the artist’s ass.
I’ve applied this criteria ever since Diane Gilson, the pig-tailed spotty-face who sat next to me in Class 2, drew a spurious picture of me during a particularly boring Arithmetic class. I applied it so assertively that I landed up standing outside the classroom door, not an uncommon position for me to take up. As I recall, I was on first-name terms with the pigeons nesting in the gutter outside 2B.
And I applied it even more furiously when a total nincompoop indulging in some performance art (by a long way not my fave artistic genre) at the notoriously left-field Bean Bag Bohemia in Durban snatched a smoke out of my hand while clearly experiencing an extremely avant-retard moment. I won’t tell you how that ended. Horribly. For him.
So let’s have a look at some art. I think they (the in-the-know “they”) call this conceptual art. I think you’ll like this…
Mmmm. I love it. Artistic expression with a functionality. To house birds. In London. Birds, as resourceful as they might be, have a pretty rough time of it in inner-city London so, on the face of it, this is eco-friendly art.
We should all be quite pleased with what’s been done here. But there’s a problem. Can you spot it? Have a close look. Feel free to use your binocs if you need to. Yes? Anybody detected the terrible oversight on the part of the smart-ass artists who dreamt up this little, er, lark?
OK. Have a closer look…
No? OK. The thing about birds, as grateful as they may be towards people who help them out with a spot in which to rest, nest and possibly even breed, is that they like a twig or something similar to perch on before they enter the nest. That helps them to locate any predators or other dodginesses before entering the nest. Or, perhaps, if it’s been a long flight home, to stop off for a crafty fag before facing the missus and the kids.
No perches. On those arty-farty nesting-boxes. And not much chance of them attracting any birds, unless they are DIY types like those hamerkops which might produce a nail from under a wing and make their own plan.
So, as the art critic I undoubtedly am, I must suggest that the London Fieldworks artists who produced this uber-pretentiously titled “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven” artwork might want to nip out to The DIY Guy, buy up all stocks of dowel rod and start chopping up bits of perch for the nonplussed birds flying around their installations in parks in Chelsea and Islington.
* To be fair, and I really want to be, you could do a lot worse than flit over to the very interesting Inhabitat eco-arty website to see what other far more environmentally considerate art is being created.
* If you scroll up to your right on this page, you’ll see a big fat badge saying something about the 2010 South African Blog Awards. I’ve entered your “diagnosed SA-positive” blog into three categories: Best New Blog, Best Personal Blog and The Kulula Best Travel Blog. I wouldn’t be at all offended if you clicked on that there badge and nominated http://www.fredhatman.co.za in any of these categories (be sure to type in your e-mail address on the blog awards site for your nomination to be registered). In fact, were I to amaze all of us by winning something, the Birkenhead is on me down the Stanford Arms! Cheers!