Brian Sewell, the really quite grown up enfant terrible of the whacky, zany world of art criticism, when asked if cartooning was an art, replied “Oh no. It’s a facility.“ A polysyllabic reply, if nothing else.
But more than that, he and others in his profession or trade or art or facility are regularly put on the spot by a label-hungry media and public, and asked to bestow names; to make things tidy.
Therefore we get; that’s art, that’s not, that’s Jack Vettriano. (I suspect Mr Sewell wouldn’t be so kind).
I also suspect that he doesn’t know much about cartooning. He’s not alone in that.
Has he really looked at Mike Williams, Ray Lowry, Martin Honeysett, Heath Robinson, Ralph Steadman…[that’s enough – Ed] because good cartooning is so obviously an art. It shoots itself in the foot because it is also funny.
Mr Sewell and his friends say that real art is, and must be, serious.
We are not all in the class of the cartoonists mentioned above, I’ll bet that whilst Peter Paul Rubens was whacking out paintings of his big ladies being harassed by variously-hued male abusers, down the street and around the corner, were many other lesser lights striving towards the exactly the same end.
And yet, when one “In the School of Titian” turns up at Sotheby’s, it is still “art”.