Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hang the painting not the painter

Memorable art should be edgy, it should captivate the public's interest. We need not insist on it being deferential to the powers that be.

The Cowen paintings which were left in the National Gallery and the Royal Hibernian Academy fit the bill. The two galleries now have a wonderful chance to hang fascinating paintings, with very interesting stories behind them. They have the potential to become their most viewed paintings. The only question is, do the gallery management have the courage to be relevant? Their first step should be to contact the artist and seek his permission to retain the paintings.

One of the great tragedies of art galleries is that not that many people go into them. The vast majority of the population don't step inside a gallery in any given year. By hanging the Cowen paintings curators will see their visitor numbers soar. They can let the public make up their own minds about the artistic merits of the pieces. At the very least, the paintings will bring new people who will then be introduced to the other paintings on the walls.

How often are the paintings in Irish galleries mentioned on the front page of BBC online or in the New York times?

I say hang the paintings on the wall, don't hang the artist.

If there are some haughty senior members of FF who think that we should only ever show groveling respect to our the taoisheach, then send them on an extended visit to North Korea, (at their own expense), so that they can see what happens to a country when all must be obsequious to their dear leader.

If we compare the paintings by Casby, with say a UK broad-sheet political satire cartoon, we then find that in fact Mr Casby was actually being much more kind.

I think the Polish magazine Wprost went too far when it published a doctored photo of Germany's Chancellor Merkel breast feeding the Polish Kaczynski twins. I'll let you the reader decide:

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