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Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That: Modern Art Explained Paperback – 1 Oct 2012
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Michael Glover s Book of the Year --i
This exhibition [A Bigger Splash: Painting after Performance] provides a good opportunity to read 'Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That' by Susie Hodge, T&H Ltd, as modern art is not, and never has been child's play. --Art of England
Informative and well written --Artists and Illustrators
Thought-provoking ... passionate and persuasive --The Artist
About the Author
Susie Hodge is an art historian, author, artist and journalist with more than 100 books to her name. She has an MA in the History of Art from Birkbeck, University of London, and is a Fellow of the RSA. She has twice been named the No. 1 art writer by the Independent.
From the Publisher
Susie Hodge examines 100 works of modern art that have attracted critical hostility – from Cy Twombly’s scribbled Olympia (1957), Jean-Michel Basquiat’s crude but spontaneous LNAPRK (1982), to the apparently careless mess of Tracey Emin’s My Bed (1998) – and explains how, far from being negligible novelties, they are inspired and logical extensions of the artistic ideas of their time.
She explains how ‘notorious’ works such as Carl Andre’s Uncarved Blacks (1975) – a rectangular arrangement of blocks of red cedar wood that is admittedly easily copied by a child – occupy unique niches in the history of ideas, both showing influences of past artists and themselves influencing subsequent artists.
A five-year-old might succeed in executing a spin painting such as those of Damien Hirst without understanding the ideas that lay behind it or its place in the history of artistic endeavour, but it does not follow that this work would be of significance to artists and historians. Susie Hodge explains, thoroughly and conclusively, why modern art is not, and never has been, child's play.
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Susie Hodge is no worse, (possibly better), than some art critics and “connoisseurs” when it comes to “educating” us proles regarding modern art. If you are anything like me however – it is a waste of time. This book did not provide a Damascene conversion but then again, I am the very model of a reactionary old git. That’s not to say all modern art is without merit. It’s just that I like to SEE a little craft and intelligence – not be patronised into seeing things that are simply not there.
If you’re looking for a book to demystify modern art, then you could do worse than this. It’s well written and mercifully free of the more ridiculous interpretations. However, if you think later works by Pollock are simply random drips and not bona-fide works of art, “Fraught with energy tension and drama” - then I doubt this book will convince you otherwise.