Modern art, the great swindle

I was lucky in some respects. I was always able to draw. Sadly I couldn’t do art lessons at school as it clashed with the sciences, although I did manage to convince the art teacher to let me go for the O level in my spare time.
A few months later I sat the A level exam. I was awarded grade A. Quite a remarkable achievement.

I carried on with the ‘real’ profession of engineering and gave it little further thought. However as time went on and the headlines spoke of Turner prizes and Tate modern exhibitions, it occurred to me something important was being violated.
Thankfully, I’m not alone..

10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in any field

(that’s 5 years full time)
Traditional skill refers to the mastery of all the elements and methods needed to render form convincingly, accurately and beautifully…

Skills are tangible and teachable,
including the mastery of scientific perspective, the depiction of form and the use of tools and materials.

Imagination nearly impossible to teach.

Traditional skills constituted a kind of marvelous subtle toolbox that a few exceptional artists used with transcendent skill. In the hands of hacks these same marvelous tools gave birth to mediocre and worse works.
John Seed, Huff

The staggering Sagrada cathedral

Would you train a surgeon to be clumsy?

£2,200,000. Words fail me.

The idea that you might train a surgeon to be clumsy, or an engineer to build poorly, or a lawyer to ignore law, would be patently absurd.

In the arts, however, you will find an occasional musician who purposely plays badly, or a writer who ignores grammar, but only in the visual arts is training in the traditional skills of the profession systematically and often institutionally denigrated.

Art is extremely effective in engaging the human heart.

The breadth and persistence of this prejudice against skill confounds common sense. Human emotion and intellect can be expressed through a variety of methods and techniques, but skilled representational art is extremely effective in engaging the human heart and energizing the mind. Yet for decades a large percentage of our art institutions have sought to banish its practice from the classroom.

The decadence of today’s art world makes the excesses of the 19th century seem quaint by comparison.
Even art critics who helped to build the current edifice are appalled by dealers, billionaires and auction houses who manipulate the system, and by the shallow, slick work that is passed off as the best that contemporary culture has to offer.

Museums, galleries and art critics have all been complicit in creating a contemporary art scene that expects minimal creative effort from its artists and delivers little of value to society at large.
With none of the rigor of 19th century training, university art departments roll out thousands of wannabe artists annually in what must be one of the greatest educational scams ever perpetrated.
At least the 19th century Beaux Arts painters were trained to make a living of it.
F. Scott Hess, Huff

The $56,000,000 question

When is the con art bubble going to burst?