Bermuda Photographer and Mayor Sparks Controversy by Critiquing Local Art

In Bermuda, photographer and city mayor Graeme Outerbridge sparked controversy when he used Facebook to criticize local art, saying, among other things, that “Most art in Bermuda is a joke,” thus producing “a scary backlash,” as the Bermuda Sun reports. Some of his comments include: “Go play in the road no talent;” “Some of the work in the Charman show is excellent… much is crap;” and “It [the ban] was for expressing my opinion that people weren’t touching the boundaries of modern art and from my understanding I see very little conceptual art around. I felt a lot of the art in Bermuda was not breaking new ground and I stand by that.” Here are excerpts from the article:

Mr Outerbridge was recently removed from the Facebook page Bermuda Artists for criticizing the standard of local artwork and is already banned from the Arts Centre at Dockyard. “Most art in Bermuda is a joke,” he wrote, adding that local artists have “very little pure expression or talent… most of it sniffing for a sale”. As female artists joined the ensuing online debate, Mr Outerbridge quipped: “Looks like a little coven is getting together… Now broom riding… there is a lost art.”

[. . .] Mr Outerbridge, who is an executive member of the Bermuda Professional Photographers Association, said he made the comments in his capacity as an artist, not as mayor. But he stands by [his comments], telling the Bermuda Sun yesterday: “My opinion is based on being an artist for a considerable amount of time. I think that people, like in so many aspects of things, don’t do the work and expect to be embraced as some sort of great artist because they are doing something in a very small place without the wider critique or exposure on expertise, of execution or the actual thought behind the piece. There’s a majority of people who call themselves artists in Bermuda who are afraid to stand up to criticism.”

The comments he made online were part of a Facebook discussion on the page for the Art Walk in the East, which takes place this Saturday and aims to promote creativity and invigorate St George’s.

For full article, see http://bermudasun.bm/main.asp?SectionID=24&SubSectionID=270&ArticleID=61226

Photo (by Graeme Outerbridge) above from http://www.lightstalkers.org/GraemeOuterbridge

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