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Label: government

Friday 24th October 2014Governmental Modern Art Spree

The British government has had a bit of a rough time of late, with the imposition of austerity measures designed to curb public spending on all but the most essential services. It may seem to some that these restrictions are easing slightly, as the Civil Service recently announced an art buying spree of upwards of 100,000 pounds, the first time any work has been purchased since austerity measures first went into place back in 2011. There may be some confusion and more than a few groans over what they chose to purchase, however, as the pieces were exclusively modern and conceptual artworks from a variety of British artists..

The chosen pieces include a variety of disciplines, though a heavy emphasis on sculptural forms, installation and multimedia is evident. Among the most irritating of the chosen pieces is a pair of torn polystyrene coffee cups made out of bronze, textured to appear like the original polystyrene, and a series of wildlife portraits on rice paper that have been crumpled and partially unfolded. Aside from gems such as these, there were also quite a number of portraits of generals and officers from the allied nations, which had actually been on loan to the collection for the last 60 years and now are properly their own.

The works are part of the government's private collection, which means they will be displayed in various government buildings throughout the United Kingdom, as well as overseas in British embassies and military bases. The goal, of course, is to present the cutting edge of British art around the world - the problem is simply that the works they've selected seem to be simply boring. They don't speak to anything new or exciting, and the media are equally unspectacular.

In the words of one commentator at the Telegraph, "...for all the apparent outlandishness of the materials, this is still official art, selected by establishment figures who think they know what is good for us and what will represent Britain in the best light. The work here isn’t so much bad as a reflection of the increasing blandness and academicism of British contemporary art." What do you think of their selections? Do you think the price they paid was justified for the work? Somehow they don't seem to have the proper kind of gravitas for governmental purchases, but instead have swapped that for a misguided attempt at edginess.

Posted on October 24th 2014 on 04:55am
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