The Guardian’s art man is in with an absolutely blistering take this morning. In a review of revolutionary-era Russian art now on at London’s Royal Academy, he insists that the art is bad because the time and the place were bad.
In a spectacular conflation of art with things that are not art, Jones slams the “way we glibly admire Russian art from the age of Lenin.” Us appreciators are “young idealists” who will flock to these artworks of “radical chic” without giving a thought to the things that are not the artworks.
That red triangle in El Lissitzky’s poster? It represents blood. Because the Bolsheviks killed people. “Nauseatingly, we forget that reality when we celebrate El Lissitzky’s poster,” Jones writes, adverbially.
He goes on:
It is a lazy, immoral lie to keep pretending there was anything glorious about the brutal experiment Lenin imposed on Russia – or anything innocent about its all-too-brilliant propaganda art.
The problem seems to be that Jones doesn’t like art very much. Remember when he lambasted the people who found beauty in that gorgeous image of curbside Mancunian revelry? Perhaps it’s about time The Guardian promote Jones to in-house joy-stomper.
He certainly won’t be enjoying himself while we who are interested in the art of the past attend the Royal Academy’s show. In fact, Jones specifies what he’ll be doing while we are all salivating over Lenin: “Me, I will be remembering the kulaks.”