Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Top 10 living artists

Felix Salmon has extracted the top 10 living artists from The Times list of the 200 best artists ever and everywhere. He has some suggested additions: Gerhard Richter seems justified; Ed Ruscha, I don't know enough to have an opinion (but now provoked to learn more).

I would also add William Eggleston and Howard Hodgkin. Eggleston's quirky ability to give aesthetic form to the detritus and disorder of life is perennially surprising. There's something to be said for making puddled car parks and lightbulbs hanging from cracked ceilings beautiful.

The art establishment tends to be a bit sniffy about Hodgkin, as well they might. I mean, his attractive use of colour and his evident love of paint mark him out as suspect. He's the painterly equivalent of Elizabeth David: bringing colour and light to our frigid northern latitude. Obviously a good thing. But making him cavalierly bourgeois and old-fashioned to the conceptual roundheads of the art world.

Who to lose to accommodate these four? I've never seen the point of Cindy Sherman. Once you remove all the post-modern blather about playing with identity there's not a lot left. At least no more than you'd get from the photos in, say, Vanity Fair.

What I've seen of Bruce Nauman I haven't liked; he might be good in some way obscure to me but fling him out anyway. Then it would have to be the terrible twins of BritArt: Emin and Hirst. However, they'd both have to make it to the top ten of the best ever art promoters. No Damien Hirst = no Tate Modern. Mind you, this might be seen as a good thing by some.

2 comments:

worm said...

the bottom half of that list is appalling! To put Tracey Emin in that list is a shocker! Anish Kapoor, Anthony Gormley or Racheal Whiteread could easily fill her spot

Hirst is a valid entry if only for his fame.

Cy Twombly, whilst famous, is just not my cup of tea! To me, he is the very pinnacle of 'art that critics are supposed to like; that every one else thinks is rubbish'


and dont get me started on the 'Sharon Tate' :)

Gadjo Dilo said...

No Damien Hirst = no Tate Modern. Hmmm. But I can't even think about that now: I'm seething as I've seen in the Times list that 5th-rate Futurist Marcel Duchamp is no. 5 but mad genius Edvard Munch is only no. 46.