Susan Hiller's Tate Britain exhibition is dismal

Susan Hiller's Tate Britain exhibition is dismal

Postby mrharrypye » Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:13 pm

A young woman came out of Susan Hiller's exhibition yesterday and told me that she had been asked to write a review of this show and was concerned that she had absolutely nothing good to say about it. She ranted: "I can't believe this is the best art Britan has to offer". I wasn't sure what to say.I'm not a fan of Hiller or her work. And I wonder what sort of people do actually like her (other than her relatives and a few Time Out critics). Brian Sewell wrote his standard "it's not real art" review and I found myself agreeing with him on most points - it's always a bit depressing to find yourself agreeing with Brian.
I thought her film about towns and places in Germany that have the word "Jude" in them was nearly interesting. When the composer John Barry died someone said that it was because his music came from his heart that it touched so many other people's heart. Hiller's German film didn't really feel it was from her heart but it was at least on the cusp of being interesting and slightly worthwhile. A typical Hiler project is "enquiries/inquiries". The title of the work is put in neon letters above a video (It looks bad). There is a blurb explaining what the piece is about. There is a video that shows a page from an old English dictionary and a page from an old American dictionary. You can sit and read various "Call My Bluff" type facts about where certain words come from. For a few seconds it's almost mildly interesting/enjoyable but it so quickly becomes boring and annoyingly dull.
If all her work was destroyed in a fire it wouldn't mean a thing because nothing she has ever done is vital or of any value. If you go and see a Chris Ofilli show you might find yourself thinking "Well, I don't like all of this but this is at least a voice I don't hear that often and that needs to be heard". With Hiller I feel - "yeah, we know that. maybe a decent artist could have used that as a starting point and made an interesting art work out it. But Hiller can't".
She's stuck around for many years, taken herself far too seriously and has been given lots of funding but she has delivered nothing. Seeing her show was a shocking waste of my valuable time. My hope is that she stops trying to be an artist and spends the rest of her life doing something that's of use to people. Maybe she could buy a van and take kids with special needs to the seaside at weekends? Or maybe she could just get clear up after dogs in her local park? It costs £10 to see her show but it's not even worth 10p. STAY AWAY
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Re: Susan Hiller's Tate Britain exhibition is dismal

Postby CAP » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:21 am

Agree Harry.

What about that song Hey Jude? What were they really singing about?
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Re: Susan Hiller's Tate Britain exhibition is dismal

Postby Astrid » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:20 am

Hey Jude was written by Paul McCartney. He wrote the song for John Lennon's son Julian. John and his wife Cynthia were splitting up and the song was Paul's way of trying to comfort young Julian or, as he called him "Jools". They decided that Hey Jude sounded better than Hey Jools. If Paul McCartney released it now people might think he was trying to cheer up Jools Holland. There's a story that when the original single was released the Beatles wrote Hey Jude in paint on the window of their Apple Corps Shop and some Jewish people were offended. As you probably know in 1930s Germany the Nazis painted "Jude" and an image of the star of David on shops and propeties owned by Jewish people.
I will be staying away from Susan Hiller's exhibition. I remember seeing her piece Witness in a group show years ago. It looked interesting but on closer inspection it really was very tiresome and pointless and it would not surprise at all if the rest of her retrospective was just as shite.
I think her son writes art reviews for Time Out so that might explain why they are such big fans.
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Re: Susan Hiller's Tate Britain exhibition is dismal

Postby CAP » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:09 pm

Then there's that book Jude The Obscure, about Jude Law's early days, presumably. I think there was a Saint Jude as well, probably the patron saint of conflicting faith. Judas was a traitor, but that's a different thing. Judicious is prudent but judicial is lawful. Whereas Judy was a Judith and never one to escariot, as you know.

It's not surprising there are German place names featuring Jude, since the Jews had been there since around Roman times (that's probably how they got there). Yiddish, my old German teacher used to tell us, was a root of Rhineland dialect. So Jews and Germany are long intertwined.

As for Hiller, it's not her fault she's a medicore journey-woman in late 20th century art. I'm sure she tries her best. It's really the Tate's fault for granting her a career survey, simply because she's been turning up for years and clocking on. That's not what makes good art. The Tate ought to know that, but they can't resist paying favours to the faithful and patient. In the long run of course, it doesn't matter because these shows roll on endlessly, next month it will be someone else and almost no-one will even remember the Hiller survey. But since The Tate positions itself as the nation's principal institution for contemporary art (sorry Charles) we have a right to expect more. :cry:
Last edited by CAP on Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Susan Hiller's Tate Britain exhibition is dismal

Postby jasperjoffe » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:44 am

Mr Pye's review is very honest.
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Re: Susan Hiller's Tate Britain exhibition is dismal

Postby Jim » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:18 pm

Judy Is A Dickslap is the name of another song. I don't think it is in any way anti-Semitic but it's an instrumental so who knows?
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