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Whither Art?


This week, Frank is unafraid to confront the most fundamental questions related to the human condition…

Whither art? It’s a question I often ask myself, usually when tucking into a plate of smokers’ poptarts or other breakfast-based snack food. I like to get art out of the way early on in the day, freeing up my time for higher things. I do not practise art myself, but it is a subject of abiding interest to me. Whither art?, I ask, wondering where it will go.

To answer that question, one must of course be familiar with where art has been. One follows its trajectory, from the earliest cave paintings to the latest talentless derivative didactic Marxist video installation bollocks, and one tries to push the line further along, to see whence it leads. Every morning, at breakfast.

Sometimes, alas, those smokers’ poptarts are just too damned delicious, and the brain that ought to be cogitating upon the future of art is instead benumbed in a lovely haze of gustatory bliss. At such times, all thoughts of art fly away, like unto a flock of starlings, and instead I ponder the sheer genius of modern breakfast snack food manufacturing processes.

But the next morning, after a day devoted to the higher things, things such as prayer and beekeeping and shove ha’penny, I return to that burning question, whither art?, as a dog returns to its vomit, and I wrestle with it, at least until breakfast is digested.

Very occasionally, when for example I have a stomach upset, I do not ask whither art?, but instead declaim, in a booming tone, wither, art! I curse art and I envision a glorious new world where art curdles and shrivels until at last it is gone, all of it, forever. But of course we know full well, all that truly withers is Googie (1917 – 2011).

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

2 thoughts on “Whither Art?

  1. johngjobling@googlemail.com'
    June 19, 2015 at 10:08

    Art is alive and well, The Clangers are once again amongst us, never mind batty French artists who, unable to paint, proffer a pissoir for our perusal., the soup wells are today’s Rothko’s Rooms, Major Clanger a nouveau Max Beckmann.

    I await, with confidence, the installation of the Iron Chicken window in Coventry Cathedral.

  2. kathywllms1@gmail.com'
    June 19, 2015 at 11:51

    Whither art? I can answer that one. Art has whithered to my home town. And it sounds pretty damn good:

    “Visitors to the EM15 venue will be invited to take part in Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf, a fully playable, artist-designed miniature golf course in which nine artists have been commissioned to design a golf hole in response to the theme of The Leisure Principle. Audiences will be guided seamlessly through the interior and exterior spaces of EM15’s venue – a boat-yard leading down to the canal. Experiential encounters with the mini golf course will explore the histories and relationships – both real and imagined – between work, leisure, colonialism, tourism, information and economics.”

    Now, does not this push the line further along?

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