JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE TATE MODERN AND THE SOFT-HEADED IDEA OF ART FOR EVERYONE   Leave a comment

 
JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY SARAH CROMPTON IN THE TELEGRAPH
“Tate Modern has emphasised over and over again that art is for everyone….”Ms. Crompton, that is a highly ambiguous phrase, so much so it is inaccurate.

The world’s great art museums are open to everyone. Anyone genuinely interested in art may enjoy and learn from them. In that sense, art is for everyone indeed.

But true art is by its very nature an elite activity: it is produced by the very gifted for the very wealthy, and that has always been so, whether the wealthy were the popes of the renaissance or the commissions of a modern government.

But the Tate Modern’s concept of art for everyone, just as for other comparable institutions, is the substitution of playgrounds and gimmicks and whimsies, appealing to people with no interest in genuine art, and that is an entirely different matter.

Opera is also for everyone: Mozart is owned by no one. But we know perfectly well, that much of the population has no interest in opera.

If you put on a set of pop songs together and call it a “rock” opera, you are not making opera more available, you are changing entirely the meaning of opera.

The Tate Modern is as poor a representative of genuine art as that pathetic drainage ditch in the park is a tribute to the grace and charm of the late Princess Diana.

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