LETTER : That's enough art - ed.

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The Independent Online
TODAY, readers of this newspaper should find somewhere in its pages, or possibly fallen on the floor, a piece of thick paper with an image on one side and a caption on the reverse. It is one of 12 prints commissioned for an exhibition in the Serpentine Gallery, London, entitled Take Me (I'm Yours). The gallery and its sponsors, Absolut Vodka, have paid for these prints to be delivered to you and we hope (though this is perhaps a faint hope) that you will find them interesting and even enjoyable. There are 12 in all and you may now be the proud owner of a picture of the Queen c.1953, or portraits of the naked Gilbert and his colleague George.

The full import of this experiment and the exhibition's twin themes of "participation" and "dispersal" are discussed on page 28 of the Sunday Review."Participation" means that a visitor to the gallery may take home a piece of old clothing from one of the gallery exhibits. "Dispersal" means that, thanks to this newspaper, you need never go near the gallery. But how will the reader then "participate"? Answer, by sending for more prints or even, according to the curator, by throwing your print away. As for the prints, several are objets trouv. We put it to Hans Ulrich Obrist, the exhibition curator, that an old photograph of the Queen was an old photograph of the Queen, and that the artist, if any, was the photographer rather than the man who "found" it, a Hans-Peter Feldman. If not, are not all of us artists? Yes. So why are we not all given exhibitions? Because we do not all have reputations. So how do we acquire a reputation? By having an exhibition. QED then. An artist is someone who has an exhibition. Art is what they exhibit.

Art is one of the loosest words in the language. We are glad to have assisted in its clarification, and are inclined on this evidence to argue for its abolition. But do let us know what you think.

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