Excruciating puns! Just a quickie this inspired by the BBC's latest attempt to position Fiona Bruce as the twenty-first century's Joan Bakewell ('The thinking man's crumpet' © 'Late Night Line Up some time in the 60s) with added greed. The programme in question is 'Fake or Fortune' the latest in a line of programmes to consider art almost exclusively from a monetary perspective, there's a precis of the story here for those that can't be arsed to sit through the entire thing http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-13785393 If you do want to see the whole thing, here it is http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0125bz7/Fake_or_Fortune_Monet/ (UK viewers only I'm afraid, but don't worry if you're in the US it'll probably turn up on BBC America soon). Somewhere in there is a potentially very funny satire on the art world (by which I mean the art business) and its sometimes tangential relation to reality and experience. Unfortunately the programme is presented as a straightforward 'David vs Goliath' struggle, with the plucky Brit outgunned by the beastly, secretive foreigners. Essentially it's a demolition job on the practice of 'connoisseurship' as applied to attributing paintings to particular artists and establishing whether something is actually what it appears to be.
Normally I'd be perfectly happy to go along with this premise, I've no great faith in the idea of connoisseurship and no sympathy at all with those who practise it behind closed doors for financial purposes. In this case however I'm prepared to make an exception because from the start, the programme fails to address one simple glaring fact and continues to ignore it throughout. Namely, that the 'Monet' in question looks nothing like a Monet.
And ultimately this is its undoing. David's painting (yes, his name is indeed David, and how fortunate for the producers to have a protagonist who looks and sounds like a straight Christopher Isherwood), Monet or not, is quite simply not Monet-like enough for the Parisiens of the Wildenstein Institute, self-appointed keepers of the Monet flame (and associated marketing opportunities). Which of course opens up a whole range of questions that are not addressed by the outraged Fiona and her ever so English cohorts.
Next week, a bit of a kerfuffle over a 'Winslow Homer' including (after Cairo this week) a probably superfluous trip to the Bahamas. For a programme that's so keen on digital technologies they don't seem to put much faith in email! Anyway 7.00pm Sunday BBC1, I might have a look if it doesn't clash with the cricket.
Work in progress and other stuff that happens.