Saturday, August 20, 2011
moif's bad Danish art rant
Most of the time, I ignore other Danish people's ideas regarding what constitutes good art, because if I didn't, I would almost certainly consume myself in an ungovernable rage. Sometimes however, usually when some eager politician or an individual-with-no-taste-and-too-much-money gets a bright idea with regards to 'smartening up' Aarhus, I am provoked to indignation. A decade or so ago some powerful members of Copenhagen's cultural elite did one of their own a favour and unloaded a pile of junk known as the 'Water Dragon' onto us. This leaking pile of expensive scrap metal (known to locals as 'the urinal') now dominates our central plaza and does a brilliant job of making us look even more provisional than we already do. At the time, public opinion was largely opposed to the sculpture with most locals (or at least those who had any opinion) preferring something by a local artist, of which there were several candidates. This opposition from the common herd made no impact on the cultural elite of Copenhagen.
Recently, Aros (an amazingly expensive art museum erected in the centre of the city around the same time as the 'Water Dragon' was being foisted upon us) forked out another vast quantity of money on a 'work of art' designed to bring international attention to Aarhus. In the image above you can see how Aros, the big brick cube looming behind the houses, manages to convey a subtle sense of the sublime... by looking like a big brick cube. Stuck on top, and looking like a misplaced multi-coloured halo, is the 'stunning work of art' designed to inspire foreign awe and exclamations of admiration. The big idea is, you walk around inside it and look at the view through the various shades of horribly expensive glass.
Now, Aarhus faces its latest artistic challenge in the shape of a 72 m tall abstract statue by the late Robert Jacobsen (an artist whose work has no relevance to modern Denmark what so ever and whose legacy is tediously guarded by his own, diminishing generation). Weighing in at 1,800 tons this monstrosity, named 'Big Robert' is almost as big as the statue of Liberty. No one seems to want it, indeed several other cities have already turned the horrible thing down, but if things go the way they usually do, this 'important work of art' will probably be dumped in Aarhus by the cultural elite in Copenhagen so that they can have a good laugh at our expensive.
I would like to take the time to publicly announce that in my opinion, the 'Water Dragon', Aros's technicolour crown, and 'Big Robert' are all perfect examples of the sort of bad art only large amounts of money in the hands of morons can buy. If I had the means, I would wage a clandestine campaign to erase these objects from existence and replace them with beautiful, imaginative works of art, probably something figurative, probably something which reflected the culture of Denmark and not the tedious thought processes of mediocre artists whose only recourse of expression is the abstract.