Editorial – September 2016

Pictures of Nothing and Very Like

John Moores Exhibition 2016

Most of Europe’s countries are either bankrupt or in economic meltdown,

their infrastructure crumbling and public services reduced; the Middle East and Levant are in post-apocalyptic ruin, in part the result of lies told in our own Parliament; an exodus of desperate humanity is seeking refuge from a criminal death-cult; innocents are being slaughtered in streets all over Europe by brainwashed loonies; across the globe are pockets
of strategically induced and entirely avoidable famine; infant mortality in parts of Africa is at worse levels than in Georgian Britain; meanwhile, at home we have thousands of steelworkers needlessly losing their jobs; pension
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pots of the poorest being robbed wholesale by bloated ocean-going bellies; armies of formerly skilled artisans reduced to wearing hairnets in order to package fatty swill fuelling an obesity epidemic; we have a political src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> élite who are out of touch with what voters think and who award themselves large pay increases and eyewatering expenses and property perks; we are returning to the bad old days of increasing numbers sleeping rough on the streets; we have an education system – 13 years of free, full-time google_ad_width = 970; tuition – which is the envy of the Third World but at the end of which a large proportion of our children still can’t read, write or speak their own language properly; pension companies google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; and fat cats steal our money and get away with it, their bosses paying themselves 130 times what their average worker earns; we
stand watching powerlessly as an age of repellent inequality in finance, housing and opportunity runs out of control; a materially obsessed populace
is beset by mass addictions to alcohol, shopping and virtual reality; our highly /* 9-970x90 */ educated young adults, already burdened with colossal debts before they’ve done a day’s work, can’t find anywhere decent, affordable or google_ad_width = 970; secure to live, public housing for some google_ad_height = 90; irrational reason having been killed off; we have profitable companies who employ a disgraceful but fashionable

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new form of exploitation called ‘internship’, slavery by any other name; and many adults can’t even afford to live on their minimum wages because of engineered restrictions placed on the hours they are allowed to work.

If ever there were importunate subjects and narratives

for visual artists to address surely it is now. But where are the Hogarths, Herkomers, Fildes, Greens, Dorés, Millais’, Bretons, Bastien-Lepages, L’Hermittes, Holls, Caton-Woodvilles, Sickerts, Dixes, Groszs and Kitchen-Sinkers of today? Of all the places they really ought to be, they
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are not to be
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found in Liverpool. As far as the latest John Moores (Walker Art Gallery until November 27th) is concerned the world outside might as well not exist.

What then are the painters in this exhibition up to? With the exception of three of the 54 works (selected from 2,500 entries) they are concerned with aspects of google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; painting itself.

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They seem exclusively devoted to navel-gazing irrelevance, and in some instances even seem

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deranged by it. Encouraged by post-modernism,

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coercive institutions,
weak museums and the debased state of art education, they have been reduced to paranoia to
the extent //--> of painting pictures of nothing. And so inadequately limited has been their expensive further education that even if they wanted to they own no means of communicating to others.

All the painters in the John Moores can come up with is

variants of the following drivel, and I quote from the catalogue:

 

“My paintings are visual fictions with concrete reality.”

“I shift from one painting to another, experimenting playfully with mark google_ad_height = 90; making.”

“My practice is to construct paintings that fix colour and

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form in various, tense economies.”

“As I work, a painting’s alchemical make up, and //--> the substance and process,

demands of its adherents – that incompetent daubing irrelevant to everything except itself is highly significant. The winner’s work is described by Davey in that phrase

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beloved of desperate State Art hacks – “deceptively simple”. That one always makes me laugh. Believe me there is nothing deceptive about this picture. There are no hidden depths, veiled revelations or secret corners. Pure and simple it
is simple. What you see is all there is. There is nothing of life here. It was born quite dead.

Artists have been hand-picked for their credulity in having fallen for the irrelevant precepts of an incompetent art education. Surely a /* xin2 */ good artist is by definition someone who communicates, not just to three others in the know but to everyone. They should consider it their duty to be involving, otherwise what’s the point? These painters don’t seem to realise that they’ve been

thoroughly cheated by charlatans.

 

Being part of the Establishment, State Art has taught and encouraged those in its seminaries to

surrender the right to be important and to make lasting work. This disgraceful orthodoxy has condemned its painters to be fashionable for seconds but irrelevant in perpetuity. Fine art ‘university’ education is the

most outrageous  failure, but it is a

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disaster we

fear, death too, and which open my eyes and senses to things I haven’t seen or felt. Why should anyone give a toss about how paint behaves under this or that src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> condition, any more than if a great writer uses two, three or all eight fingers to type with? Such matters are an impertinence. We’ve now had more than a generation of this stagnation and it’s become boring beyond endurance.

The John Moores is what you get if you don’t

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teach people to look beyond themselves and

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the insularity of Serota’s frightened and petrified art world. It’s also what you get if you allow an important prize to be kidnapped by an intolerant doctrine

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like State Art.

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style="font-weight: 400;">May I suggest that in