20th Century sculpture

The current issue of The Jackdaw asks which piece of 1960s sculpture you would rather own – this by Charles Jordan (it is actually from 1959 but we’ll let that pass)

or this piece by Sir Anthony Caro-

The Caro is probably worth considerably more than the Jordan and would have been a good investment.

But that wasn’t the question; which sculpture would you rather own?

Ownership of which piece would have given you the greater pleasure? Not just the thrill of ownership, but the joy it might bring you just looking at it. After all, isn’t that what Art is about?

I thought it might be interesting to ask which other sculptures from the 20th century were the most aesthetically appealing

What about this one by Sir Nigel Gresley?

or this by David Mach?

The latter is an obvious copy of the former. But I have to ask, what is the point of building a brick copy of a steam engine?

I blame R.Mutt.

It is almost 100 years since he ‘created’ his most famous work, as a joke. Unfortunately, the art establishment took him seriously and pretended that it was a work of profound significance.

The joke has become mainstream and we have reached the point where artists of today no longer need any sort of craft or skill. They very often employ others to do the work for them.

The idea is the only thing that matters and more often than not that idea is banal and/or trivial and ultimately pointless.

Compare the aesthetics, as well as the beautiful engineering of this by R J Mitchell

With the sheer ugliness and clunky engineering of this by a person de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme…

(I don’t know why I took a picture of this pile of crap scrap maybe to remind me that however bad my artistic efforts, they could be worse).

Said person doesn’t even pretend to be an artist. He has one idea, which is not a particularly good or original idea, and he just repeats it endlessly.

What makes it worse is that his idea is mere vanity.

His own body is the template for all of his ‘sculptures’.

Such vainglory is the stuff of modern Art. The Artist is now a celebrity.

Warhol’s prophecy, and much of his philosophy, is finally fulfilled.


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5 comments for “20th Century sculpture

  1. February 27, 2011 at 21:57

    I have to admit to liking the Angel of the North. I think that is partly to do with where it is positioned though. As you drive past, it suddenly appears out of nowhere.

  2. February 28, 2011 at 10:58

    It has to be the pink Caddy. The Caro looks like something a 5 year old cobbled together from his toy box.

  3. February 28, 2011 at 11:11


    Aesthetics is something in the eye of the beholder but the Caro is a monstrosity, not worth the scrap value of the metal.

    The spitfire is the most beautiful piece there. I once knew a lady whose hips were like the wings of a caddy – she was a work of art as well.

  4. JD
    February 28, 2011 at 13:30

    “eye of the beholder” is a cop-out argument James


    We are aesthetically inclined to respond to natural beauty and the function of Art is to remind us of that.

  5. February 28, 2011 at 14:51

    I don’t disagree, JD.

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