Thursday, January 16, 2014

Obscure arts language explained: art snobbery

This list appeared in an article by Christopher Hope, the Daily Telegraph's Political Correspondent, on January 11, 2014, on a statement by Sir Peter Bazalgette, blaming critics and curators for putting barriers between art and the public by using flowery and over-complex language to describe it.


“accessible” - obvious or superficial
“appropriationism” - copying someone else’s idea
“canon” – the span of an artist’s achievement in their career
“challenging” – obscure
“chromatism” – colouring
“corpus” – an artist’s work
“decorative” – devoid of intellectual substance
“difficult” – one step beyond “obscure”, a work so incomprehensible or obscene that it has to be admitted
“honest” – inept
“important” - art-historically significant but difficult to sell
“interesting” - all-purpose word to disguise the observer’s inability to fathom the point of a painting
“ahead of the market” – overpriced
“mature” – debilitated by old age
“monumental” – over-sized
“signature work” – easily recognised
“space” – gallery
“subtle” – dark
“tenebrist” – pretentious work for “dark”
“trajectory” – career
“unmediated” – direct, simple
“viewing experience” – looking at a picture
“zeitgeist” - relevant

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