Today it has been challenging to view the final programme in the Channel 4 series The Genius of British Art - The Art of War - presented by Jon Snow.
I was especially interested in three of the artists:
Stanley Spencer - his allegory of remembrance following WW1 and his later WW2 work about the northern shipyards; he was a pacifist and his work was informed by his Christian faith. As he made art with a purpose, informed by his faith, he represents a mode of practice that both resonates with me personally and which I would like to emulate.
Jeremy Deller - especially in the light of last weeks session and the Gillick text, it was interesting to see his It is what it is (2008) [a destroyed car from the Iraq war] and how J.D. used this as a platform for discussion for those effected by war; such engagement taking place both inside and outside the traditional gallery space. Seeking not to glorify war, but to bring the reality of war home to America. I was though somewhat ambivalent as to his attitude that he enjoyed the fact that it could be interpreted as anti war by the left and pro war by the right; this seemed to me to be confusing and to potentially dilute the central theme of bringing the horror of war home, irrespective of political views towards the war.
Steve McQueen - I was deeply moved by the images of his Queen and Country installation and rather saddened by the lack of support into making the stamps into real postage stamps that would be widely disseminated and would be a powerful tribute to all the normal service personnel who lost their lives during the Afghan war. This seemed to me to be a really iconic work that sought to bring the art to the widest possible audience in an extremely personal way. I find myself inspired and a siring to do likewise with my own work. I found it especially poignant to then find he had worked in collaboration with the braved families and that it was the bereaved families who had chosen the images for the "stamps". It seems such a shame that the stamps have still not been fully realised as a Royal Mail issue.