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Sunday 4 November 2007

More rubbish than art

Sir -- Ruth Dudley Edwards' hope that Irish art may not be too badly contaminated by the sea of mediocrity she witnessed at the Frieze Art Fair is, alas, a vain hope.

I visit the end of year shows at our leading art colleges and each time I am depressed by the inane end results.

What in the name of all that's holy are these young people being taught? As far as I can see, visual aesthetics don't count anymore and the basic skills of handling pen and paintbrush are obviously an unnecessary burden for the contemporary artist. They are, however, taught to write the most deplorable English imaginable.

The art colleges have invented a new pseudo intellectual language that is as incomprehensible and ugly as the art it purports to explain.

Ruth relates the story of Roger Kimball's eight-year-old son's insightful remark that he wanted to see some contemporary art so that "we can laugh at it, Daddy''.

I was at a college show and I noticed a small girl looking in great puzzlement at a collection of stones and rusty tin cans piled up against a wall with some pretentious title above it.

"Why is the rubbish on the floor?" she said. That was exactly what I wanted to ask.

Dermot McCabe
Bray, Co Wicklow

© Ruth Dudley Edwards