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25 October 2011

Cheap Tricks

Up In Smoke: Anish Kapoor’s Venetian Wisp

Visiting Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice recently unfortunately involved dealing with “artist” Anish Kapoor’s installation “Ascension,” and apparently my lack of appreciation is actually matched for once by the critical press:

This trite macchina of mystery is really just a cheap trick, and speaks to the poverty of thought in so much modern culture. Indeed, the great burden of our time is not modernity, but mediocrity, and Kapoor’s mechanistic misfortune only looks the more trivial when juxtaposed to Palladio’s solid masterpiece, not to mention next to the often bizarre juxtapositions of modern and traditional life that abound in this wonderfully strange city. Indeed, when I commented to the staff at the church’s campanile that the work was “strange,” they sardonically replied that there are lots of strange people that pass through their doors, and when I followed with a more critical comment on the lack of respect for the sacred space the work evidenced they simply agreed. 

Leaving the church and finding a barge with concrete mixers churning by only made the insipid installation’s shock value seem like little more than schlock value. And the strange scene of a massive cruise ship slipping by the edge of the Fondamenta Nani near San Trovaso was more distressingly poignant than any Rube Goldberg contraption that The Bean’s creator could come up with.

Would that we still, instead, made real macchine like the Salute....

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