I e-mailed my 23 year old London-based daughter who lives handy to the Tate, to suggest she not miss the much lauded current Cezanne exhibition.

She’s grown up awash in art and thus is not susceptible to buying into the bull-shit which permeates the art world. Anyway, she immediately popped in and sent back the caption she photographed, which lay under a plain fare still life.

I sent this sort of nonsense up in my novella “Modern Society.”

What’s unique about this is its author, Luc Tuymans, is an Antwerp artist of justifiable good repute who should be beyond such silliness.

Four decades back the very good New Zealand painter, the late Garth Tapper, did a few years tutoring at Auckland university’s Fine Art School. Garth dropped me a line once to say there was a pattern to his student outcomes. The talented ones, doubtless after a few years starving in the garret, soon developed a following sufficient to paint full time.

It was the untalented ones’ subsequent careers that fascinated Garth. Most gave it away but many developed new careers as critics and attendees at our expense representing us at international conferences and writing nonsense like Tuyman’s caption etc.

Perhaps they also supplement their income writing ludicrous wine reviews, which I struggle to believe anyone actually reads.



This opinion is probably written in frustration that the modern day artist has difficulty finding space for her own signature on her paintings but more because she or he is jealous of Cezanne’s legacy that clearly establishes him as one of the greats of all time.

Jeepers ! If you just threw in two extra words , ” framework ” and ” complicated ” , and that paragraph of gibberish would pass as an answer to a journalist’s question by any NZ Labour government minister .

I believe reading Art reviews or descriptions is a mistake, especially prior to viewing. It colours your reaction to a work. By all means go back and investigate afterwards but not beforehand.
Totally agree with the comments above, if there were olympic medals for bullshitting, art & wine critics would be gold & silver every time.

    Although it suddenly occurs to me that it would be fun to see if any of SRJ real estate contacts could work that quote in to an advert? (If they haven’t already)

There are many silly art critics that I’d like to see done in oils. Preferably boiled.

A friend of mine used to write info cards to place beside or beneath paintings for assorted ‘artists’ and we had great fun making up the most ludicrous tripe to print on the cards. The artists of course took them very seriously, while we would be rolling on the floor laughing fit to bust.

Jeeez….give me a break, what the hell is an art critic? probably the street kid next door. He tells me he likes what he sees and moves onto the next one ….simple as & no comment

Possibly “monumental persistence” by Cezanne. Certainly monumental bullshit from Luc

I am a philistine when it comes to art, so heartily endorse Wayne Brown’s comments regarding Auckland Art Gallery. Withdraw all public funding and let these places survive on their own BS.

    Agree totally.

    …but I don’t mind spending the odd $200k on theatrical treatises judging the colonial psychological offensiveness of sanitary products on gender diverse rugby league teams…oh, and the term ‘bicycle’.

Your reference to Garth Tapper reminded me of his great picture, “Southdown Boy”, I think it was called. Auckland Art Gallery own it as I recall.

I think I’m with Ben at the moment. There’s a lot of important stuff Government should be spending money on and not supporting art galleries. As far as art goes, if appeals to your eye, changes your heart rate or stimulates an emotion – that’s where the value of it is right there.

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