tue 04/08/2020

Goldsmiths: But is it Art? BBC Four | reviews, news & interviews

Goldsmiths: But is it Art? BBC Four

Goldsmiths: But is it Art? BBC Four

The alma mater of Damien Hirst et al goes under the spotlight

Curry, Byrne and Gonczarow: will the class of 2009 set the art establishment on fire? Tune in next week to find out... BBC

Goldsmiths has produced 20 Turner Prize winners. It produced Damien Hirst and the majority of the Brit Art pack that caused such a Nineties sensation. It has attracted some pretty impressive tutors to its fine art department – ground-breaking artists in their own right, in fact. As such, the school is considered to be something of a star in itself. So what’s its secret? This BBC Four two-parter aimed to find out - and, you’ve guessed it, in keeping with a certain jaunty documentary-making tradition, it gave the participants just enough rope to hang themselves.

If you tuned in last night, you may have come to this programme with quite a few prejudices already, one simply being that a lot of contemporary art is bullshit

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I graduated from Glasgow School of Art and we got the same bullshit. One tutor told me that my job as an artist was to make obscure work work thatthe public would not understand. Idisagreed. I had worked all my life as a newspaper journalist, mostly in Glasgow.

If nothing else, it showed that making good conceptual art is actually very hard, and those that succeed at it are making a difficult activity look easy. It's obvious that 'not just anyone could do it' when you see programmes like this!

i thought it was a wee shame that this programme seemed to reveal a floundering lack of confidence, courage of conviction or commitment to anything. No one appeared to have a clue. The bumbling aimless tutors looked like idiots, particularly when they sweated it out among the paintings of one of the degree students which they perceived wasn't up to scratch. What scratch? No one seemed to know or what's worse, care. Everybody seemed to be a bit frightened but it wasn't clear of what. The tutors seemed to have led this nice enough bunch of young folks into a maze of hope and demented hope. It was kind of summed up for me when one of the auld git tutors claimed that the students who did well were the socially capable ones. what about ideas and skills then?

Simon Starling went to Nottingham Trent then Glasgow School of Art. He's very famous for being a Glasgow graduate NOT a Goldsmiths graduate. 'Elegy' is a reference to Robert Motherwell as anyone who listened to the programme would know. Journalism? This is almost as badly informed as Roisin Byrne. Do some research next time.

Correction re Starling appreciated, Roderick. Your're right, he's very, very famous for going to Glasgow. But Leahy did in fact reference Motherwell in his title specifically be a bit more 'Goldsmiths', as he explained - it was clearly an attempt to please his tutors, nothing more conceptually interesting than that. Anyway, comments in caps duly noted.

I only found your review after pinging my own review - mine not so in depth, but reaching similar conclusions. These two programmes were a gift to the "contemporary art is crap" fraternity, and did nothing to edify art. A sad, witless bunch of tutors and students wallowing around a camera...what entertainment! I must bookmark this blog though. It's a good read.

Goldsmiths’, but is it Art?- No, it certainly is NOT ! I was appalled to watch the BBC Television programme about the current art students at Goldsmiths’, and their so-called tutors who could not have looked less enthusiastic or capable of instilling any artistic inspiration whatsoever. Part of the programme included one of the tutors relating a revolting incident of gross indecency carried out by a student, and then we were treated to another student, proudly introducing herself as a thief, relating a disgusting procedure of her so-called ‘art ’which was horrendous! What disciplinary action was taken, I wonder, or does Goldsmiths’ now condone theft, plagiarism and gross vulgarity? Goldsmiths’ School of Art was known for excellence in fine art, painting, sculpture, good draughtsmanship, illustration, etching, lithography, creative embroidery, all taught by inspirational professionals in their own field, many being well respected names in the art world. I was fortunate in gaining much of my art education at the hands of these professionals, which has ensured that to this day, I have enjoyed an artistically creative career, and was proud to be able to say that I was a product of that well-respected establishment, Goldsmiths’ School of Art. Never would I have believed it possible that the day would come when I would want to disassociate my name with Goldsmiths’, but, if this ’conceptual nonsense’ is the best they can offer to present to a television audience, then, very sadly, I do.

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