Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Poll: Spare the art and ban the child says controversial artist Jake Chapman but should children be banned from art galleries?

10:05 08 August 2014

Jake Chapman poses with an installation by him and his brother Dinos Chapman entitled "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". Jake maintains that children have no understanding of art and should be banned from galleries.

Jake Chapman poses with an installation by him and his brother Dinos Chapman entitled "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". Jake maintains that children have no understanding of art and should be banned from galleries.

Artist Jake Chapman wants children out of art galleries. Arts Editor Andrew Clarke vehemently disagrees.

shares

So controversial artist Jake Chapman doesn’t think that children should be admitted to art galleries. What rot! In a widely quoted interview he says that children are unable to appreciate the work of Mark Rothko or Jackson Pollock and so should be barred from walking through the door.

In another interview with another paper he maintains that “art has to be protected from popularity” and yet is quite happy to get the public to crowdfund their exhibitions. It’s clear that Chapman’s opinions will not have me leaping up and down singing his praises – I am very much of the belief that all art is for everyone. It has to be accessible otherwise who is it for? Art is a reflection of ourselves and therefore is for everyone.

Clearly Jake Chapman doesn’t agree but I fear his views are more cynical than that. I suspect that he knows that the best way to get publicity for the latest exhibition is to say something outrageous knowing that us media-types will howl and put his name in the headlines. Sad to say it has worked.

The question of whether he believes what he says or is just saying it for effect is rather immaterial. The fact that he is voicing this opinion is enough to start the debate.

Jake Chapman (centre left) and with brother Dinos Chapman (right) who are looking to crowdfund their latest show. Jake Chapman has said that children have no place in art galleries.Jake Chapman (centre left) and with brother Dinos Chapman (right) who are looking to crowdfund their latest show. Jake Chapman has said that children have no place in art galleries.

Although a child may not be able to articulate their reactions to a piece of art in the same way that an adult can or may not experience the same emotions or thoughts while looking at work does not invalidate their exposure to the world of art. Art is extremely personal. Everybody’s reaction is different. There is no correct way of viewing art – whatever Jake Chapman may say.

Art allows the artist to have a conversation with the viewer. The majority of art pieces are static but the dialogue they can trigger with the viewer can last a lifetime and will probably change over the years. People bring their own life experiences to art so their reactions and engagement with a work will be very personal.

The best works of art entrance and beguile. They draw people back to them time and again. It’s a wonderful thought to have a child discover a work and then return to it throughout their life. It’s rather akin to having a favourite film which you return to time and time again.

I have a number of films which I happily rewatch – Some Like It Hot, The Philadelphia Story and North By Northwest – and, although the thrill of watching them has subtly changed, they remain just as compelling and even more layered. Time adds to their richness rather than diminishing them. The same is true of fine art.

But, Jake Chapman needs to clarify when childhood ends and when artistic enlightenment begins. At what age do you suddenly get the gift of artistic insight? The photographer David Bailey discovered the work of Pablo Picasso as a teenager. The artist made such an impression on him that a picture of Bailey, taken in his barrack room during his national service, reveals a magazine reproduction of a Picasso painting pinned over his bunk.

Surely, this is proof enough that art, even so-called difficult art, can speak to people of all ages.

Also, there is no one form of art. Art covers all sorts of different media. It’s much like jazz. I’ve had people say to me: “Oh I don’t like jazz” and then later during the same conversation I found out that they loved Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra’s collaborations with Nelson Riddle – jazz by any other name. What they should have said was that they didn’t like Dixieland or Be-Bop or Free Jazz as typified by the later works of Miles Davis.

Art covers similarly expansive landscape. It’s always been a broad church covering everything from pencil drawing to water colours, oil painting to collage and stone and metal sculpture. These are now augmented by installation art, concept art, performance art and the endless possibilities of digital audio/visual presentations.

But, what most people forget is that you are not expected to like everything. It’s okay to turn your nose up at half the things you encounter but the important thing is to have experienced it and given it a go. Also our tastes change over time and the art world offers something for all seven ages of man.

Also Jake Chapman may like to consider that perhaps a child’s reaction is probably the most direct and the most honest. Sir Anthony Gormley was asked for his reaction to Chapman’s assertion that children can’t relate to art. He said: “Art is not to be decoded. It is to be felt. Feeling comes before understanding.” Can’t say fairer than that.

shares

4 comments

  • I love beer but I would hate to find beerlover in any pub that I wanted to visit.

    Report this comment

    Boris

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

  • well i worked in playgroups for years and have seen better models made out of junk than that mans pathetic dinosaurs

    Report this comment

    Tinatyping

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • The main thing is that the horrible creatures need to be kept out of any galleries I want to visit. At least until they get mature enough to behave themselves properly.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Poll: Should pretentious fly-tippers who claim it's art be given free publicity?

    Report this comment

    Sudders

    Friday, August 8, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Adele Bellis says her life has been changed forever by the attack

A beautician who lost an ear, was left partially bald and has permanent scarring after being attacked at a Lowestoft bus stop has spoken out.

Gallery:Back to school with Kindred Spirits

Yesterday, 17:41
Playtime fun at Clifford Road, School, Ipswich, in March 1974. What playtime games do you recall? (Photo by Paul Nixon/Archant)

Schools soon begin another term and proud parents will be filling Facebook with first day at school photos.

Grafitti under the A14 B1113 Newton Road bridge.

Colourful street art which has appeared on an underpass on the outskirts of a Suffolk town has sparked a debate about whether provisions should be made for it to become a feature elsewhere in the area.

Ipswich Academy.

The new sponsors of two Ipswich academies in special measures have outlined their vision to improve their schools.

A spooky procession through Christchurch Park before the start of the fireworks in 2014

There will be an army of ghouls and zombies filling Christchurch Park next month – but do not let that put you off watching Ipswich’s Halloween firework display.

Police at the scene of the shooting at Forum Court in Bury St Edmunds.

A company director is the latest person to have been charged in an attempted murder inquiry.

Cultural Review published into ECFRS.

This morning Irene Lucas has presented her independent Cultural Review into behaviour at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to the brigade and public.

Staff at Asda took the plunge as part of the  'Get Stocked Up' day in aid of St Nicholas Hospice.

A medieval pillory, buckets and spades and poker chips are just some of the items west Suffolk businesses are using to raise money for St Nicholas Hospice Care.

Staff and volunteers at Ipswich Library with some of the top ten books in Suffolk 
Matt Shenton, Marion Harvey, Calum Holmes and Hannah Daly

A woman with dementia in a desperate bid to find her best friend, an internal fight to fill a parish council seat and dealing with conspiracy and sabotage to take control of the family business.

Proposed housing site in Poplar Lane , behind the Holiday Inn ,Ipswich.

Almost 500 new homes could be built on the edge of Ipswich in a move which has prompted concern among local residents.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages