It’s like the BBC when they just want to pack work in for the holidays and go skiing but they’re officially still at work so they do tons of lazy Top 10s and clip compilations, except mine doesn’t have a panda included as one of its “women of the year”. Here are the most read Career Suicide posts from 2011. These will differ a bit from the top posts in the right-hand menu, because those ones update dynamically every day and take into account things that have been published more recently. The top five below have been calculated over the whole year.
Sorry, I don’t know why I told you that. Even I got bored and started to glaze over.
- #1 THE DEADLY CURATOR In which I use Peter Brook and William Shakespeare to castigate curators who seem intent on deliberately presenting exhibitions that nobody but a Ph.D. researcher would enjoy. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with Ph.D. researchers… but most people in the world are not in fact Ph.D. researchers.
- #2 ENGLISH, MOTHERF- -KER, DO YOU SPEAK IT? In which I mark one of Sorcha Dallas gallery’s press releases for content, grammar and comprehension like an English teacher. Spoiler: F- -, see me after the lesson.
- #3 FOR WANT OF A NAIL (IN PRAISE OF ARTSWAY) “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”
- #4 BRITISH ART SHOW 7: IN THE DAYS OF THE COMET Although they mostly did it in secret for fear of being blackballed, a lot of people really hated this exhibition. I hated it in public.
- #5 TACITA DEAN: FILM This article was really popular. Obviously Tacita Dean is… not so popular.
To be completely frank, although some of my best friends are Welsh and they have such lovely teeth and a natural sense of rhythm and excel at running and everything, their culture is so vibrant etc., Wales’ pavilion is in an out-of-the way and nigh impossible to find cluster consisting of itself, Bangladesh and Iraq. Therefore I couldn’t be bothered to waste my time in tracking it down. Is some big cheese at the Biennale sending a passive-aggressive message by exiling these strife-torn and dysfunctional countries to the Venetian equivalent of Siberia? Only joking, of course: Bangladesh is hardly dysfunctional at all.
I’ll also be honest and say that I walked past Karla Black’s effort for the Scottish pavilion by chance. I went in with an unseemly glee, almost wringing my hands and swishing my cape like a melodrama villain. I fully intended to hate it and knew I would write a load of nasty shit about it because I already know that I loathe her work vehemently. You won’t catch anybody admitting to that in Art Monthly or The Guardian… even though every reviewer, writer or critic does precisely the same thing sometimes. She’s yet another repeat offender from the British Art Show and clearly another flavour of the month, or more accurately “oppressive soapy stink of the month”.
Did you think I was going to announce a dramatic change of heart when confronted with the shattering beauty of Karla Black’s sculptures “rooted in Kleinian analysis”? Sorry, Nimrod. This exhibition was shit and it made me angry. Continue reading
The official gloss on Maurizio Cattelan’s contribution is worth quoting almost in full: “[He] has surprised Biennale organisers by re-creating ‘Turisti’, the work he produced for the 1997 show featuring 200 stuffed pigeons and fake pigeon shit on the floor.”
Either that or he’s twigged that the curator is a dimwit with no sense of quality control whatsoever, and Maurizio thought he could get away with just handing over some old thing that was only clogging up his studio anyway. So, thanks to him there are stuffed pigeons everywhere. These ‘turisti’ are certainly an apt dig at the actual turisti who perch in pestilential flocks all over the Giardini and whose presence seems hard to fathom given that they don’t seem the slightest bit interested in art. Most of them sound as if they couldn’t think about one thing at a time, let alone operate on any kind of complex intellectual level. Or maybe these people know exactly what they’re doing and they’ve found in the Biennale the perfect place in which they’ll go entirely unchallenged by art or ideas. Continue reading
Your reward at the arse end of the Arsenale is Christian Marclay’s grossly overrated Youtube Supercut/massive copyright violation ‘The Clock’: another repeat offender from the British Art Show at the Hayward gallery. As in London, the room is populated with sheep doing their duty and spending the minimum amount of time that seems decent with this mandatory important piece of art before they move on gratefully, wondering what the hell all the fuss was about because it’s just like something off of Youtube.
Beyond this point countries like the United Arab Emirates, Croatia, Chile and the like are tacked on in a fairly perfunctory way like the appendices in an academic book that nobody ever reads. The insignificance of the work presented invites a swift exit and doesn’t speak well of whoever chose the artists. I’m fairly confident that all of these countries have better and more deserving artists than the ones shown at Venice, but that seems fairly irrelevant since at the moment curators seem to be selecting artists by blindfolding themselves and picking their names randomly out of hats.
Saudi Arabia’s effort by Shadia and Raja Alem is the only effort worth even commenting on, and then only because it’s so completely out of whack with everything else on show at the Biennale. Continue reading
Painting is conspicuous by its relative absence at the Biennale. What painting there is on offer is conspicuous for being totally crap. This omission is particularly and perversely weird given that the Central Pavilion has also been noted for being dominated by three absolutely massive Tintoretto paintings, at the loud insistence of curator Bice Curiger. Um, yeah, you like Tintoretto. Good for you. Still totally pointless, except perhaps as a way of fulfilling some stupid whim you had years ago when you were powerless and fantasising about being a famous curator.
Oh, I like David Lynch and raspberries, so I’m just going to put some pictures of them right here, OK?