Tanya and Richard

A virtual friend of mine (Tanya) sent me a link  to some work of Richard Long.

Hi Pete,

How’s things? Hope you are well.

I was reading this for info on Richard Long (thought I might stop by his ‘line’ in Bristol and see the exhibition when I’m over)  and I scrolled down an saw an interesting image that made me think of your work with symbols…


Have a great weekend


So let’s have a look….

The work Tanya’s link referred me to is entitle Boyhood Line. Its a long line of white limestone placed on the ground and runs through parts of the Bristol landscape that formed part of Richard’s childhood. It will stay in place until the autumn.

This is just the sort of work that I don’t rate. The work doesn’t have a pleasing aesthetic – its just a line of white limestone in a setting. The work can, of course, be interpreted and even enjoyed by walking along by it and thinking about the past and present and how the landscape might have changed. But we can all do this anytime.

I am not saying that work’s of art have to be enjoyed or pleasing. Indeed many great works can be repulsive, shocking or deeply perplexing and difficult to interpret. But for such works to engage me they need to work as both aesthetic interest in terms of form and discourse. Placing a line of white stone somewhere may be clever, and may be rated a good art by many, but no by me. The whole thing leaves me flat.

Compare Long’s work to say that of Grayson Perry’s Walthamstow Tapestry. This works both as a picture by offering wonderful form, colour and texture and discourse as its content is a commentary on contemporary life.

It’s all to easy to say everything is art and I would agree with the statement that contexts can make anything art. But what makes good art is a wholly other question that Perry attempted to answer in his Reith lecture. His view was that there are key players like curators, dealers and collectors who inform wider public opinion. This is of course correct – good art is either recognised as collectable, monumental/public and of interest to one or more audiences. But what if you are out of step with them?


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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3 Responses to Tanya and Richard

  1. I’d have to personally disagree, I absolutely love Long’s work. There’s a simplicity and immediacy to it that just really appeals to me. Obviously all pretty subjective but for some reason I’ve always been drawn to his stuff. Horses for courses and all that though.
    I don’t think not liking a particular artist who is endorsed by the galleries/curators/ etc matters that much, it just means you don’t particularly connect with that work. I don’t reckon it’s that useful to compare artists Like Perry and Long though, they make such different sort of work, obviously you can prefer one to the other but for me I enjoy both their work in very different ways.


  2. Tanya says:

    You didn’t scroll down…:) this is the image that caught my eye and made me think of your work with symbols… http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/walk-talk-walking-writing-1 As for Richard Long, I am interested in his lifestyle, just engaging with the land on his walks – the art is secondary!

    Liked by 1 person

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