Tag Archives: contemporary art


11 Jan

A thought-provoking and informative article inspired by the recent $5.7 million sale of a most definitely crappy act of plagiarism by a technically capable but unimaginative hack (with plagiaristic form) of an original Chris Foss painting for a book cover. Although obviously the utter shithead who bought it for $5.7 million has to take a lot of the blame, too, along with all of his or her kind. Ultimately the artist is just servicing this plutocratic market and churning out high-end widgets that just happen to take the shape of art works, like a glorified McJob work experience boy. If he wasn’t doing it, somebody else would. See also The super-rich are never embarrassed.

“So what do *I* think of Glenn Brown’s appropriated art, referencing great SF illustrators? I could use the big put-downs from fine art school and call it commercially technical, overly kitsch and academic in its attempt at realism. I think it’s crappy fine art. But it’s crappy fine art borne aloft on millions of viral cat pictures and an internet culture of ripping and running with images without regard for the original creators. It’s the fine art we culturally deserve,  just as much as Warhol’s soup cans were fitting for the commercial-goods industrial era. Would I pay millions of dollars for it? Hellz no. But the momentum of  post-modernism’s love of referencing, appropriating and remixing is what led it to be worth that much.”

Read the rest here, in Scientific American for no discernible reason:



10 Jan

A number of germane and saucy suggestions by Tom Jeffreys and Oscar Rickett. Sluice Art Fair with its “artist-run projects, baffling curatorial initiatives, oddball conceptual stunts and some unfashionably beautiful pieces” is mentioned as the only art fair worth saving. I agree wholeheartedly, though I should also disclose that I’ve been involved with Sluice since the first one. What, you don’t think every critic and journalist in the art world reserves the best reviews for the projects their mates are involved with? They all do, it’s just that very few of them ever admit it.

Sorry it’s in Vice. You can’t have everything.



1 Jan

This year the WordPress annual blog report has expressed viewing figures via the rather peculiar metric of “sold out performances at Sydney Opera House”, which I apparently did eleven times in 2013. Whatever I was performing there, it must have been rocking.

I’ll be doing some proper posts again in the new year, and also recording some more Artbollocks Theatre readings. In the meantime:

You can read my tip*, one of the top five of 2013 for Culture Pros in The Guardian. Spoiler: “pro” isn’t short for prostitute, but you do still need to pay us… somebody else’s top tip is to use cat, owl or bird hashtags so look forward to plenty of those in 2014.

Derren Brown is also mentioned. Don’t worry about it, just accept it.

* NB: Not a euphemism.



  • If you’re in the UK and you’re a blogger, a journalist, a commentator of any kind, or even if you just like twatting away on Twitter, then you can rejoice in the fact that from yesterday– the 31st December 2013– the Defamation Act 2013 came into force and henceforth prevents anybody from screeching defamation or libel every time they’re fairly criticised unless they can conclusively prove in advance that “serious harm” is being done by discussion of the matter at hand… so every single one of the people who’ve threatened me or other commentators in the past for expressing opinions and encouraging debate, or rumbled about legal action in an attempt to stifle dissent can now definitively and with the full backing of British law DO ONE. Critics of the art world, the Omerta era is over. Let’s make sure the gains made by the late, great Cathedral of Shit and their ilk aren’t reversed.
  • And finally, below you can check out some of the greatest hits and biggest shits of the past year from this blog. I was joined during my surprise 2013 Antipodean gigs by these top special guests:



Boo! COLOURBLIND KIDS TV PRESENTER CAPTAIN HOOK and THE GRINWITCH OF BOTOXIA– I beg your pardon, I mean “TOP TASTEMAKERS” SAMIR CERIC and ZOE KNIGHT of Debut Contemporary are the bumbling panto villains of this season, and every season. Boo! Look out, Wendy, they’re behind you!


One of the USA’s most exciting contemporary artists, BRENT.

"Can you tell what it is yet?"

ROLF HARRIS. [Joke about Two Little Boys]

C0085418 Shoichi KOGA, "Seitenmodoki" (Ganesha Nan






“Check out my street art and viral vid website, redwindmill.co.ck."




PS: #cats.


26 Sep

“And so, faced with demands of balance and social adaptation, I oppose the claimed neurosis and dysfunctional logic…”

The interest in Artbollocks Theatre has been so great– including the prospect of some live onstage thespianism later this year– that I’m making a special effort to collect more of the worst press releases and artist statements for future performances. Here are some recent acquisitions that have attracted my wrathful gaze like the angry lighthouse in the Lord of the Rings films. Meanwhile, there’ll be a new episode of Artbollocks Theatre tomorrow (27th September) at 12.30 GMT.


“The space of the white cube is normally used to display objects. What Senstad is showing us are different works that have the removal of the object as a theme. In Color Kinesthesia and Color Synthesthesia IV she shows us light perceived as color. Small technically [sic] modifications in the perception can alter even an empty space into a massively colored place.

In the same way she shows that a sculpture is a three-dimensional object, obviously, but that this object not only fills the space in the white cube. It also contains a space inside itself. By folding out the sculpture she questions the function of the sculpture as a solid and defining marker of a gallery space, a way of seeing sculptures that minimalism taught us in the 1960s.”

The space is inside the space that fills the space but doesn’t. Either that, or somebody bought a pack of coloured light bulbs at IKEA because they were on special offer. Silly Modernism, teaching us that sculptures are solid three dimensional objects. Ha ha, so wrong. The ambulance driver is here to take you back to the retirement home for your medication, Modernism.


»Museum Off Museum« is formulating questions as to the current meaning of artistic practice and how it understands itself, as to the form and function of exhibiting, the future of knowledge generation and cultural mediation. The interest additionally circumvents the processes of analysis and translation as well as an investigation of static forms of representation in times of mobile communication. Expanding the contexts of knowledge, the history of cultural identity, the materiality and cultural codes of collections as well as artefacts play a central role in this regard. The process of differentiating between works of art and historical documents, images and reproductions, exhibits and displays, installations, stages and filmic setting will be shifting within the exhibition. In this process, the exhibition reflects, on the one hand, the subjective potential of museums’ narratives and academic methods. On the other hand, the symbolic order of knowledge defined by museums is being questioned, fictionalised and expanded. Besides, the project focuses on the influence of artistic interventions within museums and on exhibition concepts in the present day.

Oh hello, it’s our old friends “investigation” and one hand/other hand, back yet again to add nothing whatsoever to our understanding of art. Of course the interest additionally circumvents the processes of analysis and translation and… wait, no. For a moment there I thought I’d had a stroke and lost my ability to process language, but it’s OK. This person is just writing long strings of grammatically correct but content-free gobbledygook.


And so, faced with demands of balance and social adaptation, I oppose the claimed neurosis and dysfunctional logic. Faced with assurance and confidence reflecting a market’s good health, I claim self-deprecating esthetics of destruction (after construction) and of grime. Faced with agreed sobriety offering comfortable esthetic, “prefabricated” and easy to digest points of reference, I build a complex, brutal and fragmented work. Faced with the truly dictatorial so-called maturity of a laborious majority, I oppose a childish thing made of neon colors that could have come out of an anarchist children daycare. Faced with the unique and reassuring reading of a play existing for and by itself, I create a dependence of the works on each other, multiplying points of view and signs…
Therefore, this exhibition was built on the exploration of the limits of individual freedoms, rejecting any principle of adaptation and conformity to elaborate the esthetic hypothesis of a thought free to shy away from itself, its goals and habits at any time. It rests on shifting foundations that support the changing architecture of identity whose perpetual movement, escape or avoidance constitute the ultimate resistance in the face of the burdening rigidity of the enslaving machine…

All you so-called mature individuals are TOTAL DICTATORIAL FASCISTS, OK? This artist REJECTS your adaptation and conformity, you SLAVE SHEEPLE. [Music cue: Rage Against the Machine, Killing in the Name.] Continue reading


18 Sep

The Unbelievable Pressure Artists Are Under to Just Completely Make Some Stuff Up

A long but worthwhile read by Jen Graves (scroll down for the link), starting with an account of a woman who decided to reinvent herself as an Outsider Artist because that’s where the market was going, lied right to the author’s face about her past, then got nasty when she was found out… and still does pretty good business.

There’s also confirmation– somehow both shocking and entirely unsurprising– that you can just make up an exhibition history and hardly anyone will bother checking to see if it’s true. Graves mentions an artist who claimed to have showed at the Whitney on the basis of having work in the building for two hours. In my experience this is an extremely common type of artist lie, i.e. major and serial omission, where all you’re meant to take in is “major art museum”, not the details which would reveal that the artist might have been there for something but it wasn’t really an exhibition or any kind of official engagement at all. Another artist just flat out lied about being in the collection of MoMA New York when they’re not. Above all, Graves gives a very cogent account of how and why an artist’s real or claimed biography ended up sometimes meaning more to the art world than the work those artists make.

Wealth and comfort can be problems for artists. Some commit their low-level fraud by hiding that they have a trust fund or they’re married to money. Ruthie V. is a painter who recently moved out of a raggedy trailer in the unincorporated wilds of Bow, in Skagit County, to live with her new fiancé in Shoreline. While her happiness just went way up, her biography just got seriously downgraded.

“People love the trailer in Bow,” she said. “It’s a romantic story. Everybody my whole life has encouraged me to be an artist, and they know it’s a financially difficult thing to do. But they love it. They love that I’m living the dream, they love watching me blossom, they love sharing it with me. But nobody’s paying for it. It’s really complicated to have people living vicariously through you. It’s like, you’re really happy that I’m an artist, but I have no running water, and I just lost my house again, and I’m exhausted because the rats kept me up all night chewing the wires.”

I think Graves is being a bit kind when she writes that “some commit their low-level fraud by hiding that they have a trust fund or they’re married to money”. One of the most demoralising conclusions I’ve come to over the past few years is that many or possibly even most “successful” (whatever that means) younger artists hide the fact that they have a trust fund or they’re married to money, and they couldn’t have a career or be free to be artists or run their “artist led space” without that nest egg or that well-paid partner. Maybe I was naive to have ever thought any different. Several artists like this are well known to me personally; I’m sure there are many others I don’t know about because they’ve done a better job of keeping it under their quirky tweed hats.

Read the whole article here: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/the-lies-of-the-artists/Content?oid=17706036

“Check out my street art and viral vid website, redwindmill.co.ck."

Toulouse-Lautrec, just in case anybody thought the trustafarian artist was a new thing. See also Trustafarians of the Belle Époque.


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