Visiting the crack

Last week I went to see the crack at Tate Modern, which is the latest big artwork in the Turbine Hall. You can read what the Tate thinks it’s about here. I found it less impressive in reality than I expected. I’d heard about it before I went, and it looked exactly as I expected except I vaguely thought it might be bigger and scarier at the fat end.

Shibboleth by Doris Salcedo – the crack at Tate Modern, London, originally uploaded by chrisjohnbeckett.

I personally didn’t notice it exposing a fracture in modernity itself or encouraging me to confront uncomfortable truths about our history and about ourselves with absolute candidness, but then I didn’t read the blurb until after I saw it.

I also went to the Louise Bourgeois exhibition. Which I quite enjoyed although I wasn’t really in the right mood to give it the attention a major retrospective hopefully deserves. Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911 but has lived in New York since 1938. One interest was just to see work produced over such a long period; the earliest works were from the 1940s and the most recent from this year. I thought the objects were quite likeable—they had a very human sort of quality. A lot of contemporary art seems to be either highly finished and glossy or so roughly put together that it looks scruffy and half-arsed. This work avoids either quality. Apart from the traditional sculpture, I thought one example of that was the recent works which are ‘rooms’ assembled together out of found objects: furniture and tapestries and stuff. The objects themselves are battered and tatty, and it’s the kind of work which can often be a bit nothingy, but here I felt they were thoughtfully put together and really felt like coherent artworks. Those works also seemed very French; after 60 years in New York producing work that doesn’t seem so specific to a particular place, it’s interesting to see her returning to the details of her childhood in France.

Anyway. I can’t really claimed to have engaged with it in a very meaningful way, but it was interesting enough. I’ve got a cold and I’m feeling a bit shit, so rather than rambling on any more I think I’ll go and make some hot lemon and honey or something. Can anyone suggest any other favourite homemade cold remedies?