Letter: Brush with death?

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The Independent Culture
Brush with death?

Sir: I suppose Tom Lubbock's writing must be good journalism because he provokes such anger in me ("Is the writing on the wall?", 11 May). Whether it is good "art" criticism is quite another matter.

"Painting is dead" is as nonsensical and pointless a statement as "history is dead".

People die or can be living dead in the creative sense, but paint in its various forms has been around since the beginning of recorded history and will continue to be around whilst humanity is around - it's an essential tool of human expression, exploration and creativity.

Painters paint. "Art" critics write words, words which judge, distort and pervert the painter's work, constructing a mythological art world of heroes and isms. "Artists" with fragile talents and little to say are set up like kings for a day then dropped when eventually "found out". The "art" business is sick and may well in its current manifestation deservedly die.

Reynolds pointed out in the 18th century that much of the art produced in his age or in any age was mediocre, derivative and lacking in originality. Much art today lacks any pretence of skill and talent and is worst of all, boring.

But then, as Tom Lubbock grudgingly recognises, there are individual artists who transcend this cesspit, look straight ahead and really have something individual and meaningful to say. Thus it is and always will be.

I suppose there will also always be a critic desperate for something to say to make a buck who will ask whether painting is once again dead.

ROGER HOLLOWAY

Lampeter, Dyfed

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