A load of bull

I love art.

No, really. I honestly think that in this world of poverty, hunger, sickness and never quite enough Castle Milk Stout, there’s genuinely nothing better that money could be spent on than art.

Like this new exhibition at the Museum of English Rural Life, for example. It features the work of artist Maria McKinney. She’s made art from cattle semen straws. Yes, those are the tubes used to artificially inseminate cattle.
(This is, at least, I suppose, better than making art from the tubes used to naturally inseminate cattle.)

Ms McKinney was inspired by collections of 18th and 19th century livestock in the museum’s collections, which exaggerated the features bred into the animals and turned them into ‘the first viral celebrities’.

Of course it did. One can hardly miss the endless references to the cattle of the day on Ye Olde Facebooke, nor forget that all six finalists in the first series of Britain Hath Talent were bulls.

Here’s a bull with coloured plastic stuff on its back. Note also the expression on the bull’s face. It is – understandably – going to kill someone very shortly.

McKinney states:

“It was essential for me that the sculptures communicated something about the lived reality of these bulls.”

And I honestly feel that she’s hit the nail on the head there, because “the lived reality” of these animals – that they regularly have coloured plastic stuff attached to their backs – is often overlooked by the general public. If nothing else, this exhibition – featuring images of bulls with coloured plastic stuff attached to their backs – breaks the silence on this difficult and entirely pointless topic.

The exhibition, beginning this month and running until early May, is the only chance to see the results of this project, which started in 2015 and was funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award to the tune of £29,125:

Well done, artist.
Four years and a whole shedload of cash well spent right there.

Pseuds Corner

Pseuds Corner is a regular feature in Private Eye magazine, described as:

Listing pretentious, pseudo-intellectual quotations from the media.

Events online yesterday led me meanderingly to these paragraphs, which would fit right in:

Through our own individual and collective identities as artists, critics and curators, we situate ourselves as both outside and inside the art world, and it is from this position that we choose to comment on structures within the artworld as well as navigating broader frameworks, such as identity, history and locality.

Our work has thus developed into a form of critical practice, a kind of site-specific ‘rugged conceptualism’, which almost always engages with the parameters of the event we find ourselves a part of.

In a tongue in cheek way we explore our own complicity in the art and socio-political spectra, as well as the often-hidden mechanisms involved in constructing meaning, identity and history, seeking always a balance between the politically engaged and the seriously playful.

Yes folks! It’s arty-farty bullshit!

Quite how this sort of thing (see also the second part of this post) can draw any kind of funding while so many people in this country are still hungry and homeless is completely beyond me.