Marinetti, Charles Saatchi and me

In judging this year’s Turner prize, I may just have discovered the century’s first new art movement – emotional minimalism, or emo art.

It’s been a while since I said something really annoying so, as this is my last blogpost of the year, here goes. A bit of monstrous egotism to close the Michaelmas term.

My year in art was dominated (as I may have mentioned) by serving on the 2009 Turner prize jury, the most fun part of which was Waldemar Januszczak’s review of the exhibition. Of all the good reviews the Turner got, Januszczak’s was by far the most enthusiastic. He didn’t just like the show, he suggested we had identified a new movement in art, a new-ism if you will – emotional minimalism, or emo art.

Did we indeed identify one of those rare and marvellous birds, to join surrealism and abstract expressionism in the story of art? Certainly, in finding something sharp and timely and new, we probably succeeded where Charles Saatchi failed.

People have been trying since the nineties to discover and describe the next thing in art after the YBA generation. Saatchi was first over the top with his “New Neurotic Realists” show at the end of the 1990s – and it was a disaster. Critics mocked the attempt to manufacture an -ism from nowhere. Similar efforts all crashed. An uneasy compromise has since prevailed. Everyone wants to hail the new, but the new has not really moved on since Damien Hirst’s era; it’s just become an art fair lucky dip.

But the 2009 Turner prize created the image of a genuinely new moment in art. I and my fellow jurors can savour the sense of joining the modernist tradition of avant-garde impresarios. Think FT Marinetti crashing his car and dreaming up futurism. Think Andre Breton anathematising dissident surrealists. And think Jonathan Jones presenting the first -ism of our century.

Well, I said it was going to be annoying. Merry Christmas. We will resume in the early new year.
Jonathan Jones – The Guardian


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