Nevertheless, the British art world has soldiered on even without its most apt chronicler, creating art than allows the semi-literate hacks at the Daily Mail to sound like Dave:
Three women have been hurt by falling into Tate Modern's latest installation - a crack in the floor.
At 548 feet long, up to three feet deep and 10inches wide, it zigzags the length of the Turbine Hall and has been described as a highly original work of art. …
One young woman had to be dragged out by friends after falling into the crack in the floor but was otherwise unharmed.
A few minutes later, another visitor to the gallery, who thought the crack was painted, also fell in - this time injuring her wrist.
One observer said: "Instead of art imitating life, here it's threatening life."
Colombian artist Doris Salcedo's work Shibboleth, nick-named
Doris's crack, is the latest controversial installation in the Tate's massive Turbine Hall.
But one onlooker said: "We saw the first victim, a young woman who went into it with both feet up to just below her knees. She had to be dragged out by her friends.
"As we watched to see whether she was okay, an older woman deliberately stepped on it, lurched forward and landed on the ground. She told us she thought the crack was painted on the floor."
The installation cost about £300,000 and took more than six months to complete…
The crack is said to represent the division [divisive?] problem of integrating immigrants into European society.
And, yes, I'm not making this up.
Here's Barry on "plop art:"
Dade County purchased an office building from the city of Miami. The problem was that, squatting in an area that the county wanted to convert into office space, there was a large ugly wad of metal, set into the concrete. So the county sent construction workers with heavy equipment to rip out the wad, which was then going to be destroyed.
But guess what? Correct! It turns out that this was NOT an ugly wad. It was art! Specifically, it was Public Art, defined as "art that is purchased by experts who are not spending their own personal money.'' The money of course comes from the taxpayers, who are not allowed to spend this money themselves because (1) they probably wouldn't buy art, and (2) if they did, there is no way they would buy the crashed-spaceship style of art that the experts usually select for them.
The Miami wad is in fact a sculpture by the famous Italian sculptor Pomodoro (like most famous artists, he is not referred to by his first name, although I like to think it's "Bud''). This sculpture cost the taxpayers $80,000, which makes it an important work of art. In dollar terms, it is 3,200 times as important as a painting of dogs playing poker, and more than 5,000 times as important as a velveteen Elvis.
Fortunately, before the sculpture was destroyed, the error was discovered, and the Pomodoro was moved to another city office building, where it sits next to the parking garage, providing great pleasure to the many taxpayers who come to admire it.
I am kidding, of course. On the day I went to see it, the sculpture was, like so many pieces of modern taxpayer-purchased public art, being totally ignored by the actual taxpaying public, possibly because it looks -- and I say this with all due artistic respect for Bud -- like an abandoned air compressor.
So here's what I think: I think there should be a law requiring that all public art be marked with a large sign stating something like: "NOTICE! THIS IS A PIECE OF ART! THE PUBLIC SHOULD ENJOY IT TO THE TUNE OF 80,000 CLAMS!''
Also, if there happens to be an abandoned air compressor nearby, it should have a sign that says: "NOTICE! THIS IS NOT ART!'' so the public does not waste time enjoying the wrong thing. The public should enjoy what the experts have decided the public should enjoy.
Anyway, this is quite a testimony to the sheer power of momentum in human affairs. When I was a kid back in the 1960s, Life Magazine frequently brought the news of the latest cutting edge innovations going on in New York galleries to us middlebrows out in the hinterlands. In the 1970s, highbrow skeptics of contemporary art, such as Tom Stoppard in "Travesties" and Tom Wolfe in "The Painted Word," emerged.
In the three decades since, the two Toms's view -- that this kind of thing is a joke, and an increasingly unfunny, indeed boring, one -- has come to be almost universal. Nobody seems to pay any attention anymore to contemporary gallery art except to mock it, and yet ... the money keeps rolling in. $600,000 to create a 185-yard-long pedestrian hazard? Sure, why not?
Presumably, this all has to do with status displays. Before photography, creating images was difficult, so they were scarce and expensive, their creators admired, and their best works housed in special temples. But now we are awash in images in our own homes, yet the aura surrounding museums endures, so that whatever their management chooses to display on their walls -- or, in this case, in their floors -- retains prestige, even though everybody knows it's a joke.
Over the years, the joke, such as it is, has become increasingly meta: the joke is that there's no more joke. It was pretty funny 90 years ago when Marcel Duchamp made a urinal his entry in an art show because art was supposed to be high and venerable. (According to Wikipedia, "Duchamp's Fountain was voted the most influential artwork of the 20th century by 500 selected British artworld professionals.") But jokes depend upon surprise, and nothing anybody does anymore inside a museum is at all surprising, so they are now all unjokes, which, I guess, is the metajoke.
But nobody cares.