08 July 2011

Calling a spade a spade

Mahala, a South African website, recently published an interesting interview with the curator of Tretchikoff's retrospective in Cape Town, Andrew Lamprecht:

Mahala: So, is Tretchikoff a bad painter?‬

Andrew Lamprecht: Bad has‬ moral connotations as well as those of quality. It is an all-encompassing phrase. I have avoided getting into the age-old debate as to whether he painted well or used colours that were too bright and so on. On one hand he was a brilliant artist, in that he changed the way that many people approached art – opened art up to audiences that had hitherto been excluded from it, or felt intimidated by it. Sometimes his painting leaves me cold and is a bit over-the-top, but at other times it is wonderful in a whole host of ways. Also you ask this question as if one can say “he is a bad painter” rather than “IMHO he is bad”. Part of what I am fascinated by is how a certain group of people felt it their right to make such sweeping pronouncements.‬
(Source: http://www.mahala.co.za/art/deadly-serious/)

Well, I do believe art critics and art historians can make a pronouncement and pronouc—É an artist good or bad. At any rate, 'bad' can also mean unprofessional, unskilled, having no talent.

This is bad.

And this is good. It's easy to see why.

When we shy away from calling works of art 'good' or 'bad', we renounce any notion of taste and expertise.

Tretchikoff was no means a great painter but he was brilliant at what he was doing: bringing some colour and glamour into ordinary people's homes throughout the world. No small feat, really.

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