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Gauguin at Tate Modern 2010

From: art reviews
Date: 01 Oct 2010
Time: 09:59:48 -0500


The word pedophile is in the air at The Tate, I heard it said aloud in the hushed galleries gurgling with audioguide noise pollution. Does it matter if gogo Gauguin was a racist, sexist, child abuser? i think a reductio ad absurdum, imagine Hitler had been a better painter, a great artist, would his work be viewable with pleasure. Hmmm. Of course Paul G was not the most evil man who ever existed, and the ideas expressed in his paintings, lust mainly, are not in themselves offensive. Men, some men, love looking at women, and they express this in their paintings, though the history of women being treated as dumb pretty objects and being denied equal opportunities gives pause for thought. The last time people believed art should have morality was about 1951, modernism, postmodernism, relativism put paid to that idea. Bad people with bad ideas can make beautiful paintings, which are not ugly cos they have some nasty ideas in them?.............................................Gauguins work is uneven, just before he popped his hand carved clogs he painted his best work, luscious live tahitiians, indian yellow against purples, the flattening deadened light of his earlier work left behind by age, infirmity, the late blossoming. The Tate was packed on a rainy day, perhaps impressionism and post imp shows will breach the funding cuts.