Driving back from a job recently, I passed a giant pig carved, crop circle-style, into a hillside planted with cereal. Well, I think I saw it, unless it was fatigue causing me to hallucinate. I hate to put a dent in the excellent Mick Hartley‘s belief that the medium of the crop circle is untainted by monetary considerations, but I think the planet-sized porker was an advertisement for something; I didn’t want to take my eyes off the road for long enough to find out what. Everything else he writes makes sense:
“I posted a while back on surrealism, and how to the English that sort of thing comes naturally: we don’t need to philosophise about it, and write manifestoes. Just so with crop circles. They’re quintessentially English. They embody what much art nowadays can only dream of: they’re creative, inspiring, mysterious, ephemeral, and exist totally beyond commercial interests. It’s possible – and I hesitate here, but it must nevertheless be said – that the makers never even went to Art School.
I’d ascribe one other quality to crop circles that is lacking in most contemporary British art: they are (or were) genuinely subversive. Their delicious Englishness shows up graffiti artist Banksy for what he is: the art business equivalent of a rich white pop singer acting out a fantasy of being a poor black man.