Unleash the badness! Why the art world needs more sleaze and less morality
Source:theguardian Author:Jonathan Jones Date: 2015-12-30 Size:
Why has art lost its wickedness? What happened to the wildness, the sinfulness, the sleaze and the decadence……

‘Banal’ … Empty Lot, by Abraham Cruzvillegas, the 2015 Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern, London.

Why has art lost its wickedness? What happened to the wildness, the sinfulness, the sleaze and the decadence?

This year saw politics and ideology smother the art world in good intentions. The Venice Biennale was oh so serious. The Tate Modern Turbine Hall’s latest project was unveiled and turned out to be a garden deck with weeds growing in pots – a work whose ecological message is banal and visually null.

At least there’s still the Turner prize. That’s always a bit outrageous. What won this year? A soiled bed, a saucy performance? No. It was awarded to a radical housing project. Let’s not get into the “is it art” debate. Assemble may well be art but this is deeply worthy, do-gooder art.

‘Nothing right-on about it’ … Hell by Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Come back Marc Quinn – for god’s sake put up another statue of Kate Moss quick. Please, Chapmans, do something really vile. I want art with no morals, no political message, nothing right-on about it at all.

The days of 90s British art, when artists were seen as shocking, immoral provocateurs, seem very distant now. Art has of course been heading in this direction for a while. It is actually an example of a cycle in taste that seems deeply written in art’s history. In the late 18th century David and other neoclassicists rejected the sensuality and fun of rococo art and created austere images of political virtue instead. In the late 1960s, conceptual art rejected the glamour of pop and reacted so violently against its celebration of commodities that the art object was “dematerialised”. You can’t get more austere than that.

Today we are in the chill era of reaction against the bad girls and boys of 1990s and early 21st-century art. Tracey Emin sitting in a load of money? What a decadent image.

Bring it back. Reinject the decadence.

Worthy … Turner prize-winning architecture collective Assemble’s mockup of a Liverpool house, with ceramics and materials used in their housing refurbishment scheme.

Art is always at its most dangerous and liberating when it frees us from conventional morality and piety. That is why bohemian manners and the avant garde go together. It was not just artistic licence that upset people when Manet painted Olympia. It was not mere artistic fashion that drew Picasso to the garrets and brothels of Paris. Modern art was a rebellion against bourgeois normality. All the great artists who created modernism took huge risks in the way they lived. Their art is an incitement to do the same.

That’s also the reason art became exciting in recent times when it was associated with rebellion and outrage. And now we’re back in smallville, in that eternal province where culture is rational, sombre, serious and ethical. A teacher’s dream, a true artist’s nightmare.

Art in 2015 was an academic’s morose porridge of pious intellectual cliches.

Artists! Dare to be bad, if you want to be any good.

[Editor] 张艳