Laura Gascoigne: Tainted by Experience – March 2017

When the

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former controller of BBC Radio 3 John Drummond published an autobiography in 2001, he called it ‘Tainted by Experience’ – an ironic reference to the reason given by a Birtist suit at the Beeb

support Joseph Beuys’ egalitarian
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philosophy that “everyone is an artist”. Technique is not the only
casualty of this ostensible democratisation; knowledge of art history
is another victim. In Elizabeth Fullerton’s Artrage: The Inside Story of the Britart Revolution,

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Liam Gillick says of his Goldsmiths generation: “We didn’t google_ad_height = 90; sit around talking

the jury is operating a points system /* xin-1 */ whereby nominees are awarded marks for every reference to a post-modern forbear. Rather than
democratising contemporary art, this sort of specialist reference-spotting is as much a game for an art-educated elite as identifying classical allusions once was for a cultivated audience of Renaissance humanists. What it produces is elitism on the cheap, shorn of the technical skill and aesthetic pleasure that made
Renaissance art enjoyable by all audiences, educated
blue skies thinking on areas of life in which they are blissfully innocent of expertise. Before Nicky Morgan’s

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Academy Schools programme hit the google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; Brexit buffers, even parent governors – the original exemplars of taint by google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; experience – were under threat of replacement by professionals with “the right skills”.

Has anything good ever fallen out of a blue sky? In Waziristan blue skies merely increase the probability of a drone-fired Predator missile landing on your wedding party. The public has been comprehensively duped into directing its ire google_ad_height = 90; against src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> ‘experts’ and ‘elites’, when it’s managers who should be in the firing line. Elites don’t always wield power, nor are they necessarily any better off than the Maybot’s JAMs. Art history may be such a

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specialist subject google_ad_width = 970; that the AQA exam board wanted to drop

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it from its A-level syllabus, but your average art historian is almost tragically lacking in influence and generally about as poor as a church

​ mouse – ditto your average university lecturer or research scientist. The only elite with clout is the managerial one that has got us into the mess we’re currently in, //--> and can

was asked how, given the steady global rise in average IQ scores since the 1930s, Americans could have elected Donald Trump as President. His explanation was
that “the rise of visual culture means far fewer people read serious novels and history. They live in a bubble of the present, believing //--> what they are told because they have nothing to position it against.”

I agree about the ‘bubble of the present’, but I google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; question his use of the term ‘visual

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culture’. It’s visual, yes, but is it culture? Culture doesn’t feed off the present, it grows on the past. Sever its connection to the past and culture dies, clearing the field for commercial expertise in the cultural sector.

Laura Gascoigne
The Jackdaw Mar/Apr 2017