Prezza's 'Kulcha' Guide

Article excerpt

Byline: QUENTIN LETTS

THEY WERE either the most honest words of criticism since a small boy said that the emperor wore no clothes, or they were an embarrassing admission of philistinism by our esteemed Deputy Prime Minister.

John Prescott's verdict on the sculptor Henry Moore - 'he didn't like heads, did he?' and 'hands are very hard to get right, aren't they?' - may find as many supporters as critics.

Some will join him in being baffled by much recent art. Others will be amazed that Mr Prescott did not button his lip while opening an important exhibition of Moore's art in Peking.

One thing, though, is clear: our second-highest elected politician speaks as he finds, even when surrounded by diplomatic flunkeys and Chinese dignitaries.

Could this herald a new school of art criticism? What might Mr Prescott make of other innovative artists? We hope he will permit a measure of licence for the Mail's Parliamentary sketch writer to suggest John Prescott's A to Z of Art.

ART Nouveau

A STYLE of art popular in the 1890s using stylised natural forms.

'Who are you calling Nouveau? Just watch it, chum.

I bet that Peter Mandelson will change us from being New Labour to Nouveau Labour for the next election campaign!'

BAUHAUS

THE early 20th-century German design school noted for its functional architecture.

'That's German for kennel, you know.'

CHRISTO

EUROPEAN artist who wraps monuments such as Berlin's Reichstag in plastic.

'Can you hire this bloke to do your Christmas presents?' and CUBISM: A style, associated with Picasso, in which natural forms are represented as geometric shapes and seen from several angles.

'He's not all bad, Fidel Castro.

Runs a fine health service.'

DADA

EARLY 20th- century European art movement): 'Oh mother!' LEADING exponent of Brit Art whose recent work has included her notorious scruffy unmade bed).

'We'd better call the police.

Looks like there's been a break-in.'

FRINK, Elizabeth

BRITISH 20th- century sculptor of mysterious, often spectacularly well- endowed, figures).

'Blimey! You'd not want the wife seeing this lot.'

GOLDFINGER, Erno

HUNGARIAN-BORN architect (1902-87) who liked reinforced concrete and built the hideous Trellick Tower.

'Wouldn't Pussy Galore have made a better job of it?'

HEPWORTH, Barbara

ENGLISH sculptor (1903-1975) who founded the St Ives school; more abstract than her contemporary Henry Moore; work includes large roundels.

'I've seen better wheels in The Flintstones.' and DAMIEN HIRST: multimillionaire Brit Art pioneer who places dead sheep in formaldehyde.

'What's Geoffrey Howe doing behind that glass?'

IDIOTS

WHO buy this rubbish (cf Charles Saatchi - the wealthy advertising executive and Britain's biggest private collector of modern art).

JOYCE, James

(1882-1941) Irish author of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, celebrated for his rambling, incomprehensible - you could almost say Prescottian - paragraphs.

'People say they find him hard to understand but he's always made perfect sense to me. It's only snobs like those squitty little parliamentary sketchwriters who worry about grammar. I quite liked Ulysses, but I much preferred his one about the Trojan War and the lad making his way home.'

KANT, Immanuel

(1724-1804) German philosopher whose Observations On The Feeling Of The Beautiful And Sublime provide much of the intellectual justification for modern art. …