Baffled by modern art? Top expert explains all

Will Gompertz
Will Gompertz

Why is Tracey Emin’s unmade bed a work of art, when yours is not?

Why does a pile of bricks, a work of graffiti or a light going on and off in a room fetch a fortune at auction?

Explore these questions and others at a talk by the BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz at Stowe School on Friday, April 25.

The talk is aimed squarely at people who want to enjoy contemporary art but feel it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between genius and charlatan.

Ever since Marcel Duchamp transformed a urinal into a sculpture and called it Fountain nearly a century ago, art has often ceased to be all about skill.

Entitled Making Art Make Sense, Mr Gompertz’s talk at 7.30pm in the State Music Room is billed as an enlightening romp through art history, from Duchamp to Banksy,

In the past, modern art was often seen as a sham but there are ever-growing crowds of younger people who cruise the Tate Modern but are uninterested in old paintings of seascapes and Dutch country scenes.

But, as Mr Gompertz will point out in his informative and entertaining talk, there is still the problem of ‘comprehension’.

What does it all mean?

The words ‘modern art’ often alienate people, who feel concerned that the world of modern art is perhaps one vast joke or a world they do not comprehend.

Tickets £6 from