Monday, 17 October 2016

Elizabeth Price Curates: In A Dream You Saw A Way To Survive And You Were Full Of Joy

"I will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering, which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining. We do not remember. We rewrite memory much as history is rewritten. How can one remember thirst?" Chris Marker

Price says that in curating this exhibition she wanted to bring together objects that will give us a sense of the  social politics of today. The main gallery spaces of The Whitworth are divided into Sleeping, Working, Mourning and Dancing. I approached these rooms with a random wandering on my first walk around and then in a more ordered fashion on subsequent viewings but I don't think it really matters, few of the works are ambiguous in their category.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Requests and Antisongs: James Richards at the ICA

So what if Tessa Norton's crush on James Richards' artwork is just skin-deep, maybe that's part of the appeal.

Still from Radio at Night

In the 1995 TV series My So-Called Life, Angela Chase (Claire Danes) spends 19 episodes fixating on Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto). What depths could be concealed under his curtains and sheepskin coat? It soon emerges that she is projecting multitudes onto his studied blankness. He’s handsome but kind of boring. Her neighbour Brian Krakow, meanwhile, couldn’t hope to conceal his affection for Angela, and consequently could never hope to achieve Jordan’s mystery and allure.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Art In Unusual Spaces

In part two of Garageland Blog's coverage of Unlimited Festival, a disembodied voice leads Joe Turnbull to art outside the galleries and museums. (Here's part one if you missed it.)

When I first arrived at Southbank Centre for this year’s Unlimited Festival I was waiting outside the Royal Festival Hall as crowds surged past at the usual frenetic London pace. My ear was grabbed by a disembodied voice with a distinct Scottish accent. As I listened, a fascinating, if troubling, account of the daily experience of living life on the streets unfolded.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

An Afternoon at Frieze

From the Masters to the Toilet Roll, Mimei Thompson spends an afternoon at Frieze.

When Frieze Art Fair and Frieze Masters roll into town, those of us who attend are inevitably swept up in a sea of art, meeting people and being overwhelmed. Frieze Masters features more than 130 international galleries showcasing art made anywhere from late 20th century all the way back to ancient times. 

Max Ernst

A beautiful deep red Max Ernst decalcomania painting with a bark frame was mesmerising, spot lit on the tasteful grey walls, which along with grey carpets and a generally calm and reverend demeanour, set the tone of the fair. However, the museum-like atmosphere was occasionally disrupted by the realisation of the fact that we are still in a tent, after all, and the careful lighting did flicker, and a tiny, exquisite Henry Moore bronze did sway a bit on its plinth, as the tent flapped in the wind and the flooring betrayed its temporary nature.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Superbly Melancholic Clichés

Archie Franks is drawn in by the work of Ragnar Kjartansson at the Barbican, London.

After 40 minutes of watching band The National perform the same song over and over (Sorrow), I was engulfed in a strange mix of emotions. On the one hand the idea of the work is so direct as to be almost idiotic; a fashionable band perform the same song on repeat in front of an audience for six hours, but Kjartansson uncovers something else within this act, something quite strange and genuinely moving. 

A Lot of Sorrow, 2013-14

Feeling sad on my own I, along with many millions of others, have played the same song on repeat for hours on end, to wallow in sorrow as it were. So to turn this clichéd act of melancholy indulgence into an artwork is at once an obvious but also intriguing concept. I guess I was able to watch it for so long partially because I like the song, but the film of the performance and the way the band go about it are totally engrossing. One moment, in which the camera focuses on the drummer massaging his arms between his playing, brings home the difficult physical act of the performance, sorrow and melancholia enacted as a gruelling, relentless endurance test. 

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Classical Television Portraits

In early September 2016 Unlimited Festival returned to London's Southbank Centre as a celebration and continuation of the artistic vision and originality of disabled artists. As part one of Garageland Blog's coverage Joe Turnbull reviews Cameron Morgan's paintings of classic television shows at Southbank Centre.

Cameron Morgan, 1930 - Laurel & Hardy

Glasgow-based artist Cameron Morgan brought his TV Classics Part 1 exhibition, commissioned by Unlimited (administered by Shape and Artsadmin) to Southbank Centre from the 6-11 September 2016.

Let’s face it, we all have our guilty TV pleasures. Is there anything more comforting than curling up on the sofa with an old favourite? Like music, our favourite TV programmes from the past are signifiers of seminal periods in our lives. But that’s rarely acknowledged in the same way. TV is somehow seen as ephemeral and ‘low art’ in terms of culture.

Friday, 9 September 2016

David’s Days in the Hills

Michael Ajerman crashes the Hockney PV at the Royal Academy.

Hollywood and Hollywood not
We are so lively on the spot
Never sold out always in stock
Are you deaf or does this rock?
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sikamikanico

Crashing the opening of David Hockney’s exhibition at the Royal Academy, what is on my mind is not paint but the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Red Hot Chilli Peppers are the premier Californian band. Hockney is still the premier Californian artist regardless of his Bradford roots. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Pump House: Michael Beutler at Spike Island

Someone has built a pre-school, prehistoric monument inside Bristol's Spike Island, and it's great.

I’m in a small room, roughly a five-foot square, with two doors. The walls are made from paper and card, structured by a wooden frame. Two are lined with shelves made from bamboo cane and string, on which are an assortment of objects; dollops and curls of plaster, trinket-sized clay sculptures, geometric card constructions, a tray of espresso cups (Material Tests, 2006-2016).

The room is part of a warren of spaces squeezed into the gallery at Spike Island as part of Michael Beutler's exhibition Pump House. The gallery is partitioned by makeshift walls built from multitudinous materials; pastel-coloured corrugated card (Elefant und Schwein, 2010/2016) contrasts with smooth, thin shiny-silver metal sheets (Fat Potpourri, 2016) and magazine pages bundled up inside colourful netting to make rudimentary building blocks (Sausage Walls, 2014/2016).

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Botticelli in the Heaven and Hell of 2016 London

There are two Botticelli shows in London, Botticelli Reimagined at the V&A and Botticelli and Treasures from the Hamilton Collection at the Courtauld Gallery. 

Erwin Blumenfeld, Advertisement from Picture Post, 1969

Sandro Botticelli was born in 1445 in Florence and his best known works, Primavera and The Birth of Venus, are both held by the Uffizi in his hometown and unfortunately don’t travel, but the V&A show, the largest exhibition of Botticelli paintings and drawings ever held in the UK, does have lots of other treasures. Botticelli is, it seems, current and is with us even away from these exhibitions. In London we are able to see no less than nine of his paintings for free on a regular basis at the National Gallery including Venus and Mars and one of my favourites, Portrait of a Young Man (a different painting from the one of the same name at the V&A). I am a little bit obsessed by a series of his paintings, which I have only seen in reproduction, held by the Prado in Madrid and sadly not at the V&A – widescreen ratio panels with a cross sectioned storyboard showing the grizzly tale of Nastagio degli Onesti, which involves a girl being hunted by dogs – they are flatly painted with a hint of naivety and I love looking at them.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Unravel These Knots: Emma Talbot at The Freud Museum,

Alex Michon visits the Freud Museum and finds contemporary art and a symposium

‘Art is not psychoanalysis and psychoanalysis is not art.’
Joanne Morra (speaking at Intimacy Unguarded: Gender, the Unconscious and Contemporary Art).

Emma Talbot, Interpret My Dreams/Case Study, 2016

Walking home this evening, I am struck by the sight of a glorious salmon coloured sky. Something about this excuse-me- while-I-kiss-the-sky purpley haze reminds me of Emma Talbot’s work in Unravel These Knots. Significantly, showing at the Freud Museum, the work deals with thoughts, memories, emotions and psychological associations. Images made concrete from the half glimpsed mists of the mind’s eye.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Sparkles of Fury

“Raged with curses and sparkles of fury”
from The book of Los by William Blake

Last night something extraordinary happened to my soul, it was awakened and moved in a way that so seldom happens at performance art events. As part of Blake’s Outsiders, Damian and Delaine Le Bas along with the band Noiseferatu enacted a visceral slice of agitprop performance titled Jerusalem? The Ancient Days? Albion? which seemed to stop the clocks. Existing outside and of its time, expressing all the howling, hidden discontent felt towards the Sick Rose at the heart of Angerland.