newspeak at saatchi – who dont ya love?

6 August 2010 § 1 Comment

Having compiled a ‘league table’  of the critical favourites it seems appropriate to also make note of those artists who did not manage to find favour. This was not easy. The majority of critics are sadly rather reticent when it comes to making negative comments about artists work. Is it some underlying delicate and caring sensibility which somehow holds them back from potentially hurting an artists feelings? I doubt it. Are they worried about potentially lightly bruising a certain Mr Saatchi’s ego by indirectly criticising his selected artists? I rather doubt that Charles cares a jot, but yes, I rather suspect they are.

Fortunately the wonderful Brian Sewell at the Standard has no such scruples about calling a spade a spade. Why are more critics not similarly forthcoming? Any perceptive and insightful critic owes it to their readers to assess good and bad, to jump off the fence, tell it like it is. In that very spirit of openness here are the lower reaches of Newspeaks critical pile starting at 10th and working down.

10= Steven Claydon. A sculptural head of resin, copper powder (aged with the artists urine) – and a feather. Dull.

10= Matthew Darbyshire. So-so assemblages of modern objects, questioning their cultural value.

10= Iain Hetherington. Baseball caps set against painterly backgrounds. Huh?

13 Lynette Boakye. I wont bother. ‘The work of an infant’ (Standard)

14= Sigrid Holmwood. Day-glo pastiches of Van Gogh ‘fit only for the bonfire’ (Standard) although to the Guardian they were ‘mesmerising’.

14=Karla Black. Dirty clingfilm plus dangling cellophane and paper. ‘A Saatchi Joke’ (FT).’ Disgusting litter’ (Standard). The absence of any aesthetic appeal, creativity or talent does not stop the Sunday Times calling the works ‘beautiful’.

phoebe unwin - girl

 

14= Phoebe Unwin. Strange figurative paintings with a ‘deft capturing of mood’ (Guardian). ‘A monkey-see monkey-do who can mimic bady anything done well by others’ (Standard). To be fair they do have a certain charm.

16= The Rest. Sixteen other artists were not either good enough to be noticed or bad enough to be insulted. As Wilde said ‘ there only thing worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about’. Exactly – so I wont talk about them.

So with the table complete do we know we have any better idea which of these artists will enjoy relative success and which will quickly fade from memory? The quick answer of course is no – critical acceptance rarely has any correlation with more general measures of success. I would argue that public profile is the most important factor, but it is a complex and varying equation where the drip, drip of publicity and review are all vital parts of the whole.

My own instinct? Regardless of future quality of work Scrase will succeed and despite critical response Holmwood’s paintings are very noticeable and will stay that way. For investment I would buy Daniels, Quinn, Holmwood and maybe Anderson assuming prices have not been ‘Saatchi-inflated’. But then again what do I know? I would love to hear readers opinions – do not hold back!

If you liked this post please make a comment or like it. If you like the blog please subscribe for regular updates (top right of page). Many thanks! akuta

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