Imma and the role of art museums


A chara,– Dr Frank Giles (Letters, August 6th) accuses me of living in a time warp and of thinking that Ireland is still a conservative, Catholic state.

Nowhere in my letter did I refer to a conservative Catholic state, and as a sociologist I see “the status quo” as a continually evolving reality which changes over time.

Indeed, we are discussing Imma’s 30-year retrospective exhibition which charts the development of Irish art and the contribution Irish artists have made to our changing social perceptions and realities over that period.

Dr Giles seems to believe that the real rebels of today are conservative Catholics and Eurosceptics. Tell that to the many people who are still forced to attend or fund Catholic-run schools and hospitals against their will. There he will find conservative Catholic art prominently displayed.

As for the Eurosceptics, I am unaware of their distinctive artistic contributions, unless one considers posters on the side of a bus claiming that Brexit will result in an extra £350 million per week for the NHS to be a form of art.

Perhaps, in 30 years, there will be a retrospective exhibition of Brexiteer and Irish Eurosceptic art. If so, I hope to be in a position to attend.

I have no doubt the Irish status quo will have changed considerably in that time, whether led by Dr Giles or by “boringly conventional, pretentious, left-wing, petty bourgeois artists” or otherwise.

For the moment, however, I will cherish the memories of the last 30 years as captured by the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective exhibition. – Is mise,



Co Wicklow.