We’ve all been at a gallery, exhibition or crafts fair where local artists have shown their talents. Maybe some of us were among those artists. Challenging young bloods need platforms and opportunities to express themselves, demonstrate their skill and encourage interest. This is entirely laudable and good.
But we have also, all of us, been confronted with meaningless, artless drivel, too. Painfully bad art. Installations which challenge one’s patience more than one’s expectations; large canvases that are accompanied by yet larger (and much more coherent) explanatory plaques, detailing myriad inspirations for the drivel in watercolour before us.
This poem is dedicated to bad art. Art so bad it makes us howl with laughter. Art so awful it brings me life. Based on true stories.
We’ve seen some difficult art, you and I: endured
Milk poured on raw beef for five aching minutes,
Deliberate arse-milk; a purposefully bad
Violinist; an angrily shouting mime.
We’ve heard serenades which cannot be unheard,
Watched a woman wrap herself in a hundred linnets
To say something about, Prada? Once, we had
An entire soiree devoted to “war crime,”
By which the artist meant, “my record collection.”
See, unappreciated persons seek
Appreciation, a living retrospection…
If one can retrospect the Great Oblique.
Unlived lives demand the praise they lack,
So when art laughs at you, darling: howl back.