Why some modern art is junk

Matravers, Derek (1994). Why some modern art is junk. Cogito, 8(1) pp. 19–25.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5840/cogito19948146


The recent exhibition at the Hayward (Gravity and Grace: the Changing Condition of Sculpture 1965-1975) must surely have prompted anyone who paid £5 to see it to ask whether some of what they were being shown was worth looking at. This is not simply the 'But is it art?' question all over again, but something more specific. do we have a reason to see these things, as opposed to hearing about them, reading about them or appreciating them in some other way? One would expect the answer to be 'yes'. Art, like malt whisky, is made to be experienced. That is, one can look forward to it, talk about it, collect it, buy it or sell it but ultimately what gives its existence point is that it provides a worthwhile experience for people who try it. There would be no point in making malt whisky just to put vitriol into it and there would seem to be no point in exhibiting works of art which are not worth looking at.

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