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From an interview with art critic Matthew Collings:

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You could have said 50 years ago that the equivalent people in charge of modern and contemporary art packaged it for the masses because they thought it was good for them, or it would save society, or it was against fascism, or something. But now they don’t even pretend it’s out of decent motivations. It’s just for commercial reasons. In any case, I don’t care about any of that. But as I said, I only think those types of things when I’m being extreme.

The fact is, I am interested in what the grain is — the grain of contemporary art. But I don’t think that to be involved with that, you have to be involved in a zombie way. I think you can be involved in an intelligent way, and that might mean being sceptical. It might mean thinking against the grain. But that’s only because you’re thinking about the bigger picture…The equivalent in our time is young British art, (the yBas), full of nihilism, satire, surrealism and decadence. That stuff can be pretty good, and I am sometimes interested in it. But again I would feel like I was suffocating if I thought that was all art could be. And because this art is so popular it’s like there’s no air. We’ve got to hear all this mind-destroying stuff all the time about the very narrow issues and concerns of this art, and of the art of the recent past, like Warhol and Bruce Nauman, and so on, that’s supposed to have begun it all. So when I’m gooning on the TV in front of the Turner Prize, and ironically indicating a bit of disapproval, while seeming to be blindly following the agenda; and then in interviews like this actually being quite explicitly aggressive toward the contemporary scene; it’s just to let in some air.

I don’t really mean that I hate those artists or even those moronic zombie curators, with their ghastly pc homily ideas. I went to art school to be an artist. For one reason or another I fell into this journalistic world. But I thought I was just explaining stories about what I knew to be the codes of the art world. I didn’t necessarily agree with the codes, I just felt I could describe them, because I knew them well. I never had the remotest interest in making this contemporary art scene that we now have, which as everybody knows is mostly just crap, accessible to an audience who has no real interest in it anyway….But I now find myself to be this person who meets strangers in the street who say ‘I really liked your programme’ — about art I actually might not have much interest in – and they say: ‘And it really opened my eyes to it!’ It’s rather moving to be praised like that, or acknowledged, or whatever, but it’s confusing. I don’t revere the art world, or at least certainly not the contemporary art world. But I learned to think in an art context. Art school was my higher education. So all that is an explanation of what I do.

3:AM Magazine

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