For a long time I’ve thought that journalists were running the show, having created the fiction of the popularity of the visual arts, only to be believed by the so-called curators. It is however coming full circle, and things may return to a normal and healthy obscurity. There are so many really bad exhibitions about, viz. The Light Show at the Hayward Gallery.What has happened to the intervening years since the quasi-theoretical GRAV and Kinetics? You are never going to find out here. But all that’s for another entry.
I just wanted to chew over a piece by journalist Stuart Jeffries attempting to deal with assistants to ‘well-known’ artists, entitled Behind Every Great Artist. It’s a bastion of the overworked and over-edified p word…
working in a restaurant and as a builder while establishing a sculpture practice…I sometimes regret that I have let go of my own practice…I get interested in his practice…He’s thrived too as Gormley’s practice has… to learn what he could before setting up his own practice… Wentworth’s later practice as a sculptor…At the same time there are so many bad editorial strategies ( don’t I mean curatorial?) available.
Jake and Dinos Chapman’s AK45 show is like much of what they do, an unintentional cartoon of its (them)self, and contains Gormley’s worst ever work. Artists being invited to make playing cards or chess pieces are such dumb ideas, but they seem to exist in every generation.But to take the biscuit, how about My View : Personal Reflections By Today’s Leading Artists, now doubt coming from Tate Publishing, who really haven’t got a clue. With so many curators, that enterprise is spiraling inwards, but I suppose you’ve got to do something with all those unused Ph.D’s
At long last, after all these years, Hans Ulrich Obrist has come to the same conclusions that we did at workfortheeyetodo in about 1993-4, that the ‘c’ word is beyond redemption. At the time we issued a lapel button-badge, merely stating that whatever we did was uncurated. Now he writes in a piece entitled Life brought to art in the Financial Times of August 18th:
Fly-in, fly-out curating almost always produces superficial results:it’s a practice that goes hand in hand with the fashion for applying the word ‘curating’ to everything that involves simply making a choice- radio playlists, hotel decor, even the food stalls in New York’s High Line Park. Making art is not the matter of a moment, and nor is making an exhibition: curating follows art.
When will he make a similar assault on the ‘p’ word, the even more spurious notion of practice that artists are always talking about ?
A bowl of Irish gnocchi to celebrate a return to this column after several months absence. At times I feel that Irish potatoes can only be mixed with flour and made into gnocchi as a way of preventing them from dissolving in boiling water. They don’t like ‘wet’ potatoes in Ireland, only the ones that ‘explode in your face’.
The dust jacket of the 1946 resetting of Eric Gill’s essay was printed on the inside of another discarded jacket from the Works of William J. Locke Autograph Edition Volume XXXIII, also from The Bodley Head. Times of utility and re-use. It is remarkable that on the sleeve note Gill says ‘This book is written for people in general and not specifically for those people called artists…It is about art in general and the things every man needs… My appeal is to common sense.’ Is that what ‘ The Most Precious Ornament’ of another volume of Gill’s writing is about too!
Book Description: Marlborough Gallery New York, 1970. Soft cover. Book Condition: Fine. No Jacket. 1st Edition. March 1970. New York: Marlborough Gallery.28pp 300 x 210mm Stiff pictorial wraps. A gorgeous copy of this scarce and profusely illustrated exhibition catalog published on the occasion of the exhibition “Ad Reinhard: Black Paintings 1951 to 1967″ . A wonderful book, of working shots in the studio on Broadway facing W 4th St, together with remarkably fine reproductions of two paintings.Containing a Chronology by Ad Reinhardt.’The Quest for Art is Art’ by Harvard H Arnason, and the incisive essay ‘The Black Paintings’ by Barbara Rose. Not least wonderful in this exemplary catalogue are the matt black endpapers. A fine copy, with slight scuffing to the spine edge and back cover. Bookseller Inventory # LABL123
A recent photograph of one of the seven sections of my glass bridge of the anyone poem crossing the stream at Healey Hall, Riding Mill, Northumberland. Grid Ref 583000. It was built in 1999. Taken from underneath, from the stream as it were, the text is of course reversed, but walking across holding the thin handrail, you encounter the panels in sequence like the pages of the book. I guess these are three children paused on the centre panel, watching the rushing water.
Not far away, Grid Reference 585001, and easy if you can read a map, is the first of my Aeolean Neons. It is run by solar panel and wind-power , stored in a battery and let out consistently to the blue neon, installed in this small stone building in the middle of open country. The text is John Clare’s I found the poems in the field and only wrote them down gently glowing at dusk over the open field. Built in 2004, the battery has just been replaced after eight years, but during that time, the neon has been working of its own accord, with no switch to be turned on. It is remarkable to to think it is working there while I sit here in Ireland, or elsewhere !
A fulsome Chicken of the Woods fungus hacked off an oak tree by Tessa and John Falvey in early June of 2011 lasted us for three or four days. We ate it as a sauté with eggs for breakfast, as strips to make a lasagne of sorts, and even grated it dry into a robust soup.There is a book to be written which might be entitled How Not to be A Vegetarian, about eating such things, for all their satisfaction and completeness, with no reference to ersatz cookery, or the ubiquitous quiche.