Is this artwork, winner of a drawing prize, even a drawing at all?

Do you mean… houses?

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They didn’t have any houses in them.

that’s kind of like the discussion that surrounded some of frank stella’s paintings when they started verging sharply into the third dimension. i think the artist should get a great amount of leeway in defining their own work.

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Regarding “What is art?”: sometimes I feel like all contemporary fine art is performance art, since an inherent part of the process seems to be the act of convincing the audience that the piece in question should be regarded as art at all. (Full disclosure: I went to art school. It was for commercial illustration/graphic design, but I still graduated with fluency in bullshit.)

For this piece in particular, it wasn’t even the only three-dimensional entry. They also included a number of well-rendered traditional drawings, and most of them were… kind of bland, honestly. Like yes, I’m mildly impressed by your ability to wield a stick of charcoal, but that is something a talented high-schooler can do. Art is communication. Art is conceptual. Can you make me think, beyond unwanted flashbacks to all those mindless realistic renderings from photos I suffered through for my first-year foundations classes? Art is a conversation, and if you don’t have anything to say beyond “I am technically accomplished in this skill area”… well, then.

Ultimately, the prize self-describes as “[promoting] drawing in all its forms – as discovery, a testing of ideas, and decision making,” so… there you have it, I guess? It’s also only five years old, as an award, so not exactly the Salon of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in terms of rigid artistic definitions. And if a bunch of possibly-manufactured viral attention advances the mission of promoting New Zealand arts and artists, more power to them.


( The artistic part being the bullshit to make people see it as art. )


I tend to agree with you here; I’m a Fine Art graduate so my bullshit-fluency is even higher… :wink:

The traditional definition of art was given as, “If I say it is, and you agree, and it goes in a show, then it IS art.” Yes, that leaves room for a whole lot of crap to be art; talent not required.

(Pure technical ability leaves me cold too. Art can be fantastically well produced but still totally boring.)


… and a duck egg. 43

Alternatively, “Everything is everything” - Lauryn Hill, circa 1998.

Your move.


THIS is why I had a cerebral-immune reaction to art-school foolishness after I finished my MFA. I got a degree in being a charlatan when all I ever wanted was to be honest.


Regarding viral attention, etc.:

The tabloid-esque “any publicity is good publicity” knee-jerk media machine is why we have Trump. The amount of attention a thing attracts is an insufficient indicator of qualities.

There’s gotta be SOMETHING more to aesthetics, and art, than that. Right?

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The example of graphite dude (Douglas Stichbury) isn’t really fair – what he entered was undoubtedly a drawing, and wasn’t intended to be controversial. Some numpties got a stick of graphite up their butts over the fact that the artist had copied / referenced / based it on someone else’s photograph, and tried to get the drawing disqualified.


The judge in this case (Seraphine Pick) is a surrealist painter, more of a colourist than a line-focused artist. It is not inconceivable that she was taking the piss.

Now if it had been curtain scraps I might give it a pass, but whoever heard of drawing the carpet??


Magritte was hardly a Post Modernist

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There is, it’s just harder to put on those labels next to the pictures.

Which means we get tat like Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin, sales people with more talent at promotion than creativity.

Like you, I’d much rather “Attention” was not used a yardstick for “Quality”.

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No, you’re quite right- but he may have influenced those who claim to be.

Nice work, if you can get it.

(get it?)


I always appreciated the old standard of a local college. If you have a piece of paper with tape on it, it is a sign (or art), and can remain for 30 days. You can tape it to a pole, a wall, even the ground. No tape = garbage and it will be removed asap. Pushpins and staples are not tape.