Ted Talk to Myself


‘Real Art’ in ‘Real Galleries’ holds the attention of a viewer for about 11 seconds. It has been proven by major galleries who have videotaped visitors, that those visitors spend longer reading the ‘explanation’ of a piece of art, than looking at the thing! Outrageous! What a lot they miss out on by not spending time looking at something and making their own observations and stories. I can’t think of a single piece of art that I’ve seen anywhere….including skimming FB …that is worth that little attention……..I once spent an hour in a room with a sculpture by a Brazilian artist called Tunga. It was at Whitechapel art gallery. I couldn’t leave the room. People drifted in and out. It was something like a giant metal hair comb…metal strands of ‘hair’ leading to a kind of metal ‘club’ ….it was incredibly powerful. Which not a single other person who entered and left the room during that hour would have been aware of…..For me, the value in getting art students to sit down and do ‘their version’ of a piece of art, is most certainly not so they learn how to copy things. It’s to get them to look closely, spend time with a piece of art. Learn to take their time just looking, so they absorb the values a particular artist instilled in the piece. Question it. Hate those values if they like. Then they will be able to make their own decisions about what they want from their own work……In one of my previous Ted Talks to Myself, I brought up ‘With a Poet’s Eye’…an anthology produced by the Tate gallery, yonks ago….and how I liked Ekphrasis poets who looked closely at a piece of art….and used it as a Massive Springboard for writing something original and true to themselves. I hate when writers use art in a lazy descriptive way…but even then…people are looking closely!