3 Feb

The Photographers’ Gallery in London is concurrently showing three collections of photographs by David Lynch, William Burroughs and Andy Warhol. I’m such a huge fan of David Lynch that I’m even prepared to forgive him his ridiculous adverts for Calvin Klein and for letting Twin Peaks degenerate into an aimless soap opera clusterfuck for most of its second season. Burroughs is probably not the kind of writer anybody in their right mind would be a fan of, but I like his work and he was undeniably a powerful stylist and one of the most influential and subversive authors of 1950s and 1960s. I’m totally indifferent to the majority of Andy Warhol’s screen prints, and to most other Pop Art for that matter. His work being worth millions of dollars is totally absurd.

Bearing all this in mind, it’s surprising that my opinion of these three mini exhibitions in completely inverse to my liking for their respective makers. There’s very little inherently interesting or revealing about the photographs by Lynch. We already know he really digs old factories. The same probably goes double for Burroughs since a good proportion of the pictures so reverently displayed are mere snapshots, and probably never intended to be anything more. His collage work is less interesting in its actuality than it is in its concept and the influence it had upon others. In other words, nobody would give any of Lynch’s or Burroughs’ photographs a second glance if we didn’t already know they were by the famous film director David Lynch or by William Burroughs the famous writer, junkie and guy you probably shouldn’t play the William Tell Game with. It’s part of a disturbing trend in supposedly contemporary galleries towards the moribund and the just plain necrophiliac; two of the three artists aren’t even alive anymore, and every celebrity who has a show like this is literally preventing a deserving, living, working, non-famous artist from having an exhibition instead. Do we really need to see the contents of William Burroughs’ photo shoebox?

DavidHermanFuturama2011AWConversely– and to me surprisingly– Warhol’s photography actually does have some independent merit. There’s proof in them, if proof were needed, of an artistic sensibility that saw the potential for art everywhere and in everything, a sly sense of humour, and a distinct tendency towards a kind of mundane surrealism. The walls are also painted a nice duck egg colour, which is the kind of thing I always appreciate. White walls are boring.

The whole thing continues until the 30th March 2014. Even if you’re local and this is the kind of thing that blows your skirt up, I still strongly suggest you go for free on a Monday, or on a Thursday evening, rather than pay to see it.

You should also check out Alan Warburton’s animation in the foyer, which I enjoyed because it looks like the result of somebody trying their best to master 3D software while under the influence of horse tranquilisers. This is not a negative criticism, by the way. It’s a good thing. I think we could do without the curator telling us it’s made of 750 trillion pixels or whatever, though. Nobody cares. If you haven’t got anything informative or enlightening to say, curators, please say nothing at all.



  1. Alistair 11/02/2014 at 6:58 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: