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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Cadmium Yellow, Red, Orange - . Nearer and nearer draws the time ....

Very soon now, the European Union's decision on whether or not to ban Cadmium in artists' paints will be known.   I'll save any vituperation until they pronounce - but if they do ban cadmium based paints, they'll be stealing one of the greatest advances in colour in the last 100 years from artists everywhere.

It's interesting that some of the critics - possibly even all of them - on the national newspapers haven't grasped how important this is, reinforcing my view that 99% of them know absolutely nothing about the process and practice of painting.   Does it matter that they don't - is it necessary to know the boring technical details provided you have a degree in art history - or at least a diploma from an ex-Polytechnic posing as the real thing - and have read Clement Greenberg (you could look him up: I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend that you do)?

Yes, it does.  A critic who knows nothing about the way in which paintings are made just doesn't know anything like enough to be worth listening to.   All too many of them know about is auction prices, market value, saleability.  Some of them wouldn't know a Bright from a Filbert, or a tube of Buff Titanium from a tube of Colgate plaque-removing toothpaste.

If there's one thing I can't stand (honest observation here: there are MILLIONS of things I can't stand) it's critics who trade on the public's ignorance to shield their own.   Any critic or art "expert" who has failed to express concern about the possible banning of cadmium pigments in the EU is either an idiot, whose opinion on art is worth about as much as mine on Crown Bowls (trust me on this, don't trust me on this - I know zilch on toast) or so remarkably complacent about a real danger I wonder what could possibly awaken them to a threat.  Nuclear war, possibly.

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