Saturday, 16 March 2013

Show me the Monet

BBC2 has been re-showing the 2012 "Show me the Monet" series at ridiculous o'clock in the morning for the previous fortnight. I've been viewing some of the programmes on I-Player with a mixture of horror and curiosity. All credit to the BBC for doing what they do best, the unthinkable, trying to popularise Fine Art on mainstream television.

But populism comes at a price, a pantomime X-Factor format. The jury (aka the 'Hanging Committee') are an art dealer with a commercial expertise in valuing art; an author that at least talks some sense and provides balance; a Simon Cowell-esque "boo hiss he's behind you" villain. Art is reduced to 'skill', 'emotional response' and 'value' . To add insult to injury the programme is presented by a saccharine BBC Breakfast sports presenter, making light of the entrants' misfortunes and generally stating the bleedin' obvious!

A mixture of well-meaning and talented (but often naive) amateurs and semi-professional artists submit their work to be judged and, hopefully, displayed for a handful of days at the Mall Galleries, London. I'll admit, the variety of works is interesting! On the other hand, the decisions of the Hanging Committee are often frustratingly unpredictable (but usually erring on the side of traditional skills and subjects).

I remember seeing an anouncement recently that SMtM wasn't being commissioned for a third series. That would be a shame! Art rouses passions and extremes of subjectivity. Get a presenter with a modicum of expertise, remove the judgement from its straightjacket of rationalism, maybe add a practising artist to the Committee? However much each person has strong (and different) opinions about art, it must be more fun than watching the next parade of 17 year old wannabe's singing karaoke on mainstream TV.

1 comment:

  1. Bless the Beeb, they have a three part series on BBC4 entitled "What Do Artists Do All Day?"

    One may well ask, as a sit here watching TV and eating biscuits...