Saturday, October 01, 2005


I am sure the entire Indian art fraternity must be gung-ho about Tyeb Mehta and his 7-crore benchmark. I am not much into paintings and all that arty stuff, but I find the huge sums being paid a bit absurd. And I am pretty certain that a lot of the so-called aficionados of art have little or no understanding of it.

Here are a couple of instances:

1. In 1936, Phantasy by Spencer Nichols hung upside down for 18 days at an exhibit in New Jersey. To cover the blunder, the New Jersey Museum Association responded that since the work was an abstraction it didn't matter which way it hung. They stated that they could only tell the work was upside down because his signature was "in the wrong corner." However, as Nichols pointed out, the work was not an abstraction but a seascape, which may have become abstract when it was turned upside down.
2. The work, Le Bateau by Matisse, hung upside down for 47 days in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Last Works of Henri Matisse. It was uprighted after Genevieve Habert, a Wall Street stockbroker, noticed the mistake. At first she notified a museum guard, who responded, "You don't know what's up and you don't know what's down and neither do we." After trying to get someone to listen, Habert gave up and called the New York Times about the mistake. The next day, after the director of exhibitions, Monroe Wheeler, was notified, the work was rehung properly.

I am a functional human being in the Howard Roark mould and I do not believe in "Ars Gratia Artis". Maybe, that is why it makes me wonder:
Does Art sustain itself on the Greater Fool Theory?


Post a Comment

<< Home