Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kooky Westwood


I do love Vivienne Westwood and what i love about her is this punk image that she so loves to portray with her quirky prints and unusual tailoring. She is also well known for being a bit strange to say the least. Everyone knows who she is, and well if you didn't you might have noticed last month when she featured on the news. My dad laughed and pointed at the screen asking if that was the woman who designed the coat that they bought me for my birthday. Well yes, dad it is.
If you didn't know last month she came out with her Manifesto, Manifesto against Propaganda. It's probably just as strange as she is. Her manifesto basically, reads like a play filled with 25characters from Alice in Wonderland, Aristotle, Pinocciho....and Hitler. I guess the idea is that its a morality play. It's hard to follow but...the crux of it lies within art. One of her characters, the Greek Philosopher Diogenes comments that, "I am famous because I've got the balls to do what I want. And I don't want much." only for Pinocciho to respond, "Cool, I've found art! I could be Diogenes II. I'll call myself a piss artist and make lots of money."

Westwood basically wants us to turn away from this type of art, but this type of art is what has been popular for the last couple of decades, if not more! I'm referring to the Duchamps, work of the yBA's, Warhol's art etc while she wants a return to the old masters such as Velasquez.
How strange to be reading this, it is like stepping back into the eighteenth century into one of my lectures on the Academy in France, she is against abstract art and wants a return to the academic. She should probably get in line and join the Stuckists then. Who protest every year outside the Turner Prize.

Isn't it crazy that this 'punk designer/dame' is basically rejecting the avant-garde?
Westwood wants a "universal truth" and that it lies within the works of Chaucer, Bach and Whistler, but they don't exsist in today's society. Her opinion is that art reflects society, and so by supporting the 'Piss artists' we are turning back on our culture.
There is a major flaw in this though, one that begins with her own position in the arts. She asks in the manifesto, "Aren'tya OD'd on the latest thing?" referring to the popularity of current art. Well, can't we ask you the same thing? I admit i am one of those who constantly OD's on Vivienne Westwood, the only thing stopping me from buying the latest perfume was the price tag.

The manifesto is a bit hypocritcal to say the least, and i don't really agree with it since i do love contemporary art. Art doesn't have be like a Whistler, where what you see is pretty much what you get, and don't get me started on Gainsborough.
Why can't an art work provoke questions, get you thinking around the subject? Why can't it be brightly coloured and a bit crazy? Certainly, no one in Whistler's paintings wore gold devil horns now did they??
I will pretend Mrs Westwood didn't release such a manifesto....

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