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Taking Out the Trash

While in London, Ted and I paid a visit to the Tate Modern. This would be an instance of Ted being a good sport, as he has profound misgivings about contemporary art. While we walked from the tubestop to the museum, he asked glumly, “So, will I get to see shit?” I was able to assure him that he almost certainly would, and I was correct: Not only was there a gallery devoted to the work of Chris Ofili, but there was also an installation that contained bronze blobs that allegedly represented “primitive animals”, but which looked like nothing so much as enormous turds (the Guggenheim curators, apparently, share this view.)

Since our tour of the Tate Modern, Ted and I have been having an irresolvable but congenial argument about the nature and meaning of art (this discussion is doomed to interminableness in part because, while my husband and I more or less agree on the problem of “nature”, we seem to have a difference of opinion about the possibility of “meaning”). He sent me this article today. It looks like Ted and the cleaning staff at the Tate Britain have similar opinions about conceptual art. Even though I am not generally inclined to dismiss such pieces out of hand, I do find the idea of a bag of trash being “too badly damaged” to display kind of hilarious.

August 27, 2004 | Permalink


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