Tag Archives: group exhibition

REPULSIVE

15 Mar
Bosch

“Young collectors cocktails”

At PULSE (sic… they always style it like that) Miami Beach 2016 this December, there will be a “private preview brunch”, followed later that day by “young collectors cocktails.” I know, I had an urge to vomit too. The poor grammar here suggests that the cocktails will be made from young collectors; while I do think it’s a good idea for the 1% to be pestled and pulverised I’m going to assume they mean cocktails for young collectors.

These young collectors will probably only be slightly richer than the exhibitors, because it costs a (non-refundable) $275 to apply, plus a $2000 deposit against your final charge of either $4960 for a small booth with three lights– woo!– or a medium booth with a crazy FOUR lights for $6,200. You do get your $2000 back if they don’t accept you, you lucky thing, though $2000 is probably nothing to anybody moving in these circles. “Drayage” is included, which is brilliant because there’s no need to have your staff equip the horses and harness them to the Pantechnicon.

Many purveyors of wall-based decoration will be there, but probably not a single person worthy to be called an artist. Horrific events like PULSEMiamibeach2016 are one of the reasons I have a GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG tag on this site.

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BARBARA HEPWORTH COSPLAY AT TATE BRITAIN

26 Jun
Margaret_Howell_Artists_Duffel_Coat_16692

Artist duffle coat, £425.

What better way to celebrate a major* exhibition of Dame Barbara Hepworth’s Modernist art at Tate Britain than spending £1200 in their gift shop to dress like a Hepster? Luckily the costumes clothes don’t have bloody great holes through the middle of them like her sculptures. Rather than a real artist of Hepworth’s vintage, they’re more like the sort of slightly-too-on-point-to-be-real ensembles you’d see worn by a beatnik artist Don Draper was knobbing on Mad Men. They’ve also wisely stuck to mod and steered clear of Babs’ occasional sartorial forays into getting herself up like a forest witch from a Russian folk tale. Designer Margaret Howell says “She was a woman to roll up her sleeves, and a woman who needed pockets – for chisel, pencil, and pebbles from the beach.” Do my eyes deceive me or is this woman actually mansplaining pockets to women? I know this revelation of the true purpose of pockets as places to put things will come as a shock to all you ladies who don’t generally need pockets and didn’t know what pockets are for. Buy a £135 Artist Smock and start getting some pebbles in yer. Maybe get a £1 Barbara Hepworth pencil like what she had for making her sculptures and shit.

You get the pencils from the gift shop, incidentally, and not from the beach where you also get chisels, as Howell’s bad grammar would suggest.

* Damn those pesky minor exhibitions, so pernicious that art museums and galleries constantly need to distinguish their “major” ones from paltry minor ones. Yeah, get the fuck out of here and don’t come back, minor artists with your minor exhibition bullshit.

Anyway, I’ve taken the liberty of virtually modelling some of the gear for you all. Next time I’m in the Crapital I’ll have to pop in to the old mausoleum and wear some of them for real. Or maybe we could all dress up as stereotypical-looking modern artists to storm the place en masse. DM me. I probably shouldn’t have said that. They’ll have printouts of me behind the tills or something: CALL SECURITY. When I have my retrospective at Tate Britain because I’m dead and can’t actually benefit from it, it’s going to be really easy for the gift shop buyers because usually I alternate between an outdoors lumbersexual look and for indoors hikikomori time (which is most of it, frankly) a black or dark blue T-shirt and the same trousers I’ve been wearing all week if I bother to put trousers on at all.

GET YOUR SMOCK ON, GET YOUR SMOCK ON, GET YOUR GET YOUR GET YOUR SMOCK ON

HepworthCosplay1

Scarf £195 + artist dungarees [sic] £245 + artist duffle coat [sic] £425 = £865. I’m wearing the artist duffle coat under the artist dungarees because the rules of your uncool square society don’t apply to me, daddio, and hell yeah I’m wearing a headscarf with the Tate logo on it. Half Withnail, half butch lesbian factory worker, all artist, dig?

 HepworthCosplay2

The twin influences of Cold War nihilism and Modernist utopianism are elegantly expressed in this ensemble of artist apron [sic]– a bargain at £75– charcoal silk scarf (£195) and artist smock [sic] for a mere £135. What do you mean you don’t have an artist smock? What kind of an artist are you? No kind of an artist is the answer, my friend, because all artists need a smock: END OF. Get thee to a gift shoppery.

More jolly violations of dead artists:

Miffy Rembrandt. Norwegian weltschmerz with Hello Kitty. Van Gogh Barbie (cut off earlobe sold separately)

… and further fashion choices for your high net worth art as lifestyle:

Silk trousers £575.

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: DOG LOVERS SPECIAL

4 May

doge

Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real! Oh how I wish they weren’t. In this super special edition with added PERFORMANCE ART that will make Marina admit defeat, pack her money bags and retire at last:

Q: Does your promotional material and critical text need to have any relation to or mention of what is actually in the exhibition?

A: Apparently not. Just write about looking at a dog in a sort of vaguely prose poem that reads like some stoned high school kid’s notebook scribbles. Apart from listing the names of the artists and mentioning that it’s an MA degree show, there is no mention whatsoever of what we might see, what’s interesting about it, what media the artists are working in, or why we might want to go. So it’s not just a horrible, pretentious piece of writing, it’s also a complete failure in terms of promotion and as a way of documenting or describing the exhibition for those of us (i.e. 99% of us) who will never see it.

In keeping with the bogus stoner profundity of the text, I made some impromptu, dog-related interpretive performance art that you can also “enjoy” in this video.

They face off in the room. He looks into her eyes and she looks into his. She sees him looking at her looking at him looking at her looking at him looking at her and she feels self-conscious so focuses on the detail. The brown that pretends to be black and the nostril that pretends to be still. She tries not to blink, but it’s hard work. She blinks.

She tries to maintain the kind of eye contact you might have when your eyeballs don’t actually touch. But with or without contact, the in-between-ness remains, even if it is only as membranous liquid or coagulated tears or the crust that separates wet from dry. The space between prevails with an unknown exchange rate. She wonders how long they would have to touch before they would conglomerate…or was the still, stale air of judgment and opinion already mattering between them.

She looks again, imagining a bird’s eye view and a hind sight too. She tries to allow the image to surprise her: tiny hairs and the space behind the ears and the eyelid twitch and the nervous tick.

Is this what an encounter feels like? I try to find words to say but this moment escapes language. Are you, too, intoxicated with life? It all rises viscously around us, like an ocean storm and meaty tiptoes and a packet of midnight howls.

Are we feeling something together? Are we becoming something and then meaning something and then all the magic sensations in our bodily pits…We dance on the threshold of a primal immediacy, and weigh each other against the wild and untamed. A half sunken waltz to an ensemble of smells, crystallizing endlessly between offering and protecting ourselves.

Still I wonder if my vision is stubbornly dogged, or worse, dogmatic. Tell me if I am seeing you or just an actor performing the real you.

What does he stand for? What have I made him stand for? He sits but his size is not reduced…broad shoulders and square jaw.

I want to sing to him but he stands. And lifts a leg. In lieu of mine, he is suddenly estranged from this romantic fiction. He flees with his fleas and his nervous tick too. A diagonal escape into his own self-referential future, going blind, making me invisible as he madly gnaws at his own tale.

His trace is brutal, and yet the space has shifted. And in the end, making art and meeting a dog can be much the same thing.

ThisIsDog

IT CAN BE DONE

26 Jan
VoH2

“I… I… can understand this wall text.”

“It” being to write about art without tediously reciting what the art is made of, what the art looks like and what we supposedly feel about the art, and using plain English without resorting to pretentious, empty language. Thank Karen Archey for this rare example of a non-bollocks art press release, related to an exhibition in Stockholm.

Curatron #5 release

All artworks in this exhibition deal with the body, its removals, artificiality, and ineffability. Lost limbs, artificial hormones, forgotten cultures, made-up people, dead celebrities. Since when is it so hard to get real in this world? I wake up and feel invisible. I work and feel invisible. I eat, shit, and sleep invisible. It’s 2015 and we’ve regressed so far that identity politics feel new again.

What will make our shadows stick?

I’ve noticed a lot of artists who grasp anything in sight and describe and smother it with words, as if blind. Like babies who mull over the world in their mouth because their sight is too abstract. This impulse to smother reminds me of Pompeii’s last afternoon. As Vesuvius erupted, the most boring shit was cast pristine in ash to pick, prod and hold for centuries to come. Everything also died. Ask your favorite archeologist: was it worth it?

What is an exhibition but a body—a sum totaling more than its parts? If I give you five fingers and a press release, will it make a hand? I want an exhibition that totals less than its parts that detracts from what we already know. I want to go deep, toward death; figure out why we all feel so fucking invisible and fuck phantom soulmates. No words.

In contrast to all the bad writing I cover here, there’s relatively little commentary required on this one. Regardless of whether this piece of writing’s tone or voice is to your taste, it’s personal and it undeniably has character. It is evocative and non-literal about its subject. Note especially that she’s talking about the theme of the exhibition without ever short-circuiting (or assuming) the reader’s need or desire to see the exhibition itself. If one can’t trust the art to communicate with the public then the art probably shouldn’t be shown. A critical or review text’s legitimate, productive roles do not include excusing or handwaving an artist’s failure to connect and communicate. It’s also not very much to ask of a writer that they too communicate in clear, honest and meaningful language instead of fridge magnet poetry or random jargon strings, but many don’t. Archey does. Good for her.

I like her observation about many artists grabbing everything in sight and smothering it with words. I agree, and I think in many cases they do it because they’re plain old charlatans whose artistic, imaginative or aesthetic abilities are so limited that they have no alternative. There are now several generations of artists and curators who’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that it doesn’t matter how hollow or slight your work might be if you can armour plate it (or better still, have it armour plated by a curator or art academic) in a solid wall of baffling International Art English.

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE: VECTORS

5 May

ArtBTheatreTitleMore dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. This is the last one for the time being, but I’ll be back soon with more highfalutin claptrap and a new dinner jacket. The art work being described (or not, as the case may be) was a “one nigth event” [sic] that took place in Lisbon this January. I suppose they could have further minimised the chances of anybody actually seeing whatever the hell it was they were showing by doing it in a boat 100km off the coast of Portugal or something, but theirs was certainly a brave step towards the high-end art world’s ideal of art not being visible to the general public at all.

Play along with Artbollocks Bingo!

The title ‘Aula de Ginástica’ [Gymnastics Class] evokes a notion of time, a unit, a moment, a class, an exercise or set of exercises and, in this particular case, a spatial construction based on mental exercises that correspond to a set of reflections on the possibility and fulfillment of a project. Its presence is absence circumscribed by a geography that radically affects the EMPTY CUBE project in terms of its display potential: in what it shows for a single, unrepeatable moment and in the rarefaction of its space as the symbolic place of the exhibitive project.

Its presence is absence? My approval of whoever wrote this is annoyance. I have to say that for me ‘Gymnastics Class’ doesn’t evoke a notion of time, a unit or whatnot. It mainly evokes my PE teacher at secondary school who loved watching boys in the shower under the pretences of “making sure they washed” and doted on them until they hit puberty, then switched to bullying them relentlessly for the apparent sin of growing up. Charming fellow. Looked like a male version of Margaret Thatcher.

Exercises


Alongside this, designer Vieira Baptista combines a number of models and prototypes to reveal methodologies and processes that present the ephemeral as a transitory moment in the creative process itself, without losing sight of the viewer’s itinerary, which leads to a surprisingly deceptive plane. However, the geography and concomitant geometry imposed by his reflection on this project make it possible to visually construct the vectors of a now imaginary space that repeats itself in the memory of past EMPTY CUBE projects. EMPTY CUBE itself is suggested by the action of someone who intervenes in a space, be it the same space with which we are familiar or a different one, defined by Miguel Vieira Baptista’s design pieces on the walls of the host space.

I defy anybody to work out from this description what was actually being shown or done in the gallery or what it was really about. “Design pieces” doesn’t count either, because what is a “design piece”? There’s no obvious connection between these “design pieces” and the gibberish about methodologies anyway. I think this is one of the purest artbollocks texts I’ve done so far, at least in the sense that it’s all bollocks and no art. That’s why it’s hard to offer any kind of lengthy commentary on it. Some of the others gave the impression that there might conceivably be something worth seeing if you like that kind of thing and were able to ignore the nonsense that was being written about the work or the artist. Other horribly overwritten texts might have been edited down into something that had a factual core, if anybody on the premises was capable or inclined. This essay is an overinflated cream puff of a text, and that’s doing a disservice to cream puffs because at least they have cream inside them. There’s some half-cocked reference to the currently fashionable conceit that artists are a kind of researcher or technician of ideas, but when you crunch this one down there’s absolutely nothing potentially or actually informative in it whatsoever. Conceits– clever evasions, ingenious McGuffins, highbrow but hollow proclamations–  are what contemporary art all too frequently has at its core instead of ideas, emotion or the sharing of experiences.

For the “nigth” time: if an art work needs this much description in order for people to understand it or in order for the artist and their representatives to justify its existence, then it’s not really a work of art. Or if it is an art work, it’s an art work that needn’t exist and needn’t be seen because you just described everything worth knowing about it.

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