Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is it art?

Ceal Floyer
"Monochrome Till Receipt (White)"
Supermarket receipt
Dimensions variable

London's Tate Britain recently purchased a curious piece of conceptual art for the Tate's permanent collection. Artist Ceal Floyer's work is, in fact, a grocery receipt, and the museum's acquisition of the piece is generating a wide range of response from the greater art community.

From The Daily Mail:
"Pakistani-born Miss Floyer, 41, who graduated from Goldsmith's art college in London in 1994, describes the work as a modern still life where objects are imagined rather than shown.

[...] Exhibition curator Andrew Wilson [...] called the piece 'an imaginative leap of faith from the daily drudge of going to the supermarket to the idea of the domestic still life painting, but also with the supposed purity of Modernist monochrome abstract painting'."
Read the full article here.

In our celebrity-obsessed world, any press, as the saying goes, is good press...but is Ceal Floyer's receipt art? And, if so, is it good art?

You make the call.

Photo credit: photograph, copyright CA; ripped from The Daily Mail website


mordicai said...

I wanted to know what was on the receipt. Which-- I'm now suddenly involved in the piece. ART.

andiscandis said...

Oh, crap. I have ART littering the floor of my truck!!! I think I may even have ART under my kitchen table! I know for sure there's some ART in my purse.

In case you didn't get my drift, my answer to your question is no.

Donald Frazell said...

I guy over at The Guardian wanted to get a space and use my endless "rants" as art, wallpapering with perhaps some real art mixed in, though he preferred the text only.

told him I was crazy, but not that vain. One must have some pride, or do we? We mixed up arrogance for the pride of expecting the best from oneself long ago.

This is twisted entertainment, not art. Where anything by the artistes is "special". They are special all right, they have an Olympics just for them, though the ones using it right now would kick their asses.

Creative art is the highest common denominator, entertainment the lowest. Guess where this fits in. Really guess, because I have absolutely no idea, its wannabe star power.


Art Collegia Delenda Est

Hungry Hyaena said...


I accept your reasoning, but it seems to me that, based on what you write, it's the context that defines art, or at least one's perception of something as art.

If that's so, wouldn't anything placed in a gallery or museum qualify? I suppose this is the Beuys school: "Everything is art and everyone is an artist." The romantic in me agrees with Beuys, but there is a limit to pragmatic application of romantic fancy.

All of this is to say that, for me, the receipt doesn't qualify as art, but that I don't dismiss it's status as art for those who are willing or able to make a sound argument for why.


Well, then, you should take care of all that art!


My only problem with your defining the receipt as "twisted entertainment" is that, well, it ain't very entertaining! ;)

Donald Frazell said...

For some it is, and thats what is twisted.

Peter Cowling said...

I say no and no, I mean Morrisons; get cracking on a Tesco receipt, and then we can have a serious conversation :)


Hello Christopher,

Love the way you have circled the globe with your thoughts on art and eco systems.

I'm writing you because I wanted to see if I could persuade you to contribute to A BOOK ABOUT DEATH. It's a project I'm organizing in New York at The Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery. It opens on September 10.. We are anticipating about 1000 artists each contributing 500 printed / hand-made / silkscreened post cards. It's easy to do.

The image should touch upon death in anyway the artist wants. All we ask is that the phrase A BOOK ABOUT DEATH be present in any size, any typestyle, any language.

All the details are on the blog: http://abookaboutdeath.blogspot.com/

It would be wonderful to have your genius in this show. Please take a look and don't hesitate to mail me if you have any questions.

And of course, if you want, share this artist call with any and all your creative friends, it seems you have many great ones.


Matthew Rose / Paris, France

Hungry Hyaena said...


Ah, yes, a fine distinction! ;)


Thank you for the kind words and for the invitation to participate in the exhibition. It seems very ambitious. I will look into it some more and see if I can fit the postcard design into my exhibition crunch. Thanks, again!

Anonymous said...

Ur all missing the point. its about hidden images- all the items on the receipt are white