Yesterday we took our daughter and grandson back home after a short visit. On the way we stopped off at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – Wave to see “Wave”. This is part of the display from the Tower of London to celebrate (if that’s the right word) the First World War. We had been unable to go down to London to see the full installation and so this was a chance to see at least part of it. I don’t know how many poppies are involved in the display (the only information I can find suggests that there are 10,000 poppies going around in two or three displays so I guess that its somewhere around 5,000) however, it makes one realise what an impressive thing the whole 888,246 display would have been. It made me start thinking about “what is art”. The point about the installation in London was that there was one poppy for each soldier who died in the First World War so the artistic point is the message that comes across through the installation.
The Yorkshire Sculpture Park also has a number of large lumps by Henry Moore and others and, to be honest, they left me completely cold, there was no reason for the sculptures (that I knew of) and in my (humble) opinion, these items are just as much “art” as any of the other sculptures within the park.
However when I went into the shop and picked up a book on Henry Moore, the pictures which showed the rocks around where he was born gave much more meaning to the lumps of bronze that dotted the landscape.
It also took me back to a programme I watched (part of) the other day where somebody was trying to prove that a piece of artwork was by a particular artist. When he succeeded (with assistance from the BBC), the value of the painting went up thirtyfold. It made me wonder why. It was the same painting, no more or less attractive as a result of proving who painted it, just a name added to the bottom. Seems to me that art is very much “emperor’s new clothes”. If you can persuade enough people that something has value, it doesn’t matter whether its something you want to look at or not, its just worth money because people want it.
Anyway, the cafe is good enough (though busy because of the number of people coming to see the poppy installation) and they were prepared to make me a wheat-free sandwich which makes life simpler all round.
Somewhere I would recommend visiting if you’re passing that way Junction 38 on the M1. Better value than the motorway service stations and somewhere to have a walk.