Thursday, March 24, 2011

True lies

Everyone is caught out at some time or another when a close artist friend has just made a show you just don't like. What’s to be said? Sir John Gielgud had a great response to acting performances that made him wince. Gliding into the dressing room backstage, he'd charge up to the offending actor, grab him or her by both cheeks and bellow, “Well look at you then.”

And, while probably apocryphal, we did hear that Colin McCahon when faced with a particularly poor effort on a student's easel would point to a small area of painting in the top right corner and say something to the effect of, “I think that's very successful.” 

Here then, with a little help from Tom Morris, artistic director of the Ojai Festival in California and via Arts Journal are some get-out-of-jail-free responses to bad art experiences.

1 “You must be very pleased”
2 “Fascinating”
3 “What a huge amount of work you’ve done”
4 “I’m speechless”
5 “You've done it again”
6 “It doesn't get any better than this”
7 “Extraordinary is not the word”
8 “I’ve never seen anything quite like this before”
9 “No one can say you’re standing still”
10 “Wow”