post-ironic monuments


With all the ‘boundary-blurring’ going on in contemporary art, the old distinction between art and craft ought to be history. But snobbism is apparently so hard-wired into our aesthetic psyche that the distinction has managed to survive by appealing to the Wildean doctrine, ‘All art is quite useless.’ If something has a use, the theory seems to go, it isn’t art: if it’s useless, it’s in with a chance.

The new Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art — mima for short — set out with a mission to show arts and crafts under the same roof. Its reasons are historic: its snazzy new glass-fronted building unites the collections of the former Cleveland Crafts Centre and Middlesbrough Art Gallery. So a show about the Bauhaus, not seen in Britain since the Royal Academy’s survey of 1968, seemed an obvious choice for its first year’s exhibition programme.

more from The Spectator here.