Posted: April 30th, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: artist talks, contemporary art, psychoanalysis, Uncategorized | No Comments »
(c) Jason Schmidt. Courtesy the artist.
Anyone with more than a passing acquaintance with the practice of artist Martin Creed will know all about the fastidious numbering of his works. These begin with Work No.3 in 1986 (a yellow painting) and so far stretch as far as this year’s Work No. 1461 (an installation made with adhesive tape).
What might surprise you is that Creed’s appetite for order and record keeping extends to collecting sound files of every interview he undertakes. So when I catch him on the phone a technical hitch at his end throws the methodical artist.
“Wait, are you recording this?” he wants to know. “Can I get a copy of it?” And after the giving and receiving of assurances that I will later send him an MP3, we are ready to continue. It is quite clear that Creed takes the business of talking seriously.
This bodes well for those lucky enough to find themselves at the Freud Museum during Museums at Night 2013. On Thursday May 16 the Scottish artist will be on the spot, if not on the couch, as he improvises an after hours lecture, with the help of slide projections and a bit of music.
“It’s hard to do things,” he says. “Everything seems just as difficult as everything else: it’s just as much work to try to talk and say something that I think is alright as it is to try to fix and be okay with the shapes or colours in a painting or a sculpture or whatever.”
Creed refuses to be drawn about finer details pertaining to the evening: “I’m not sure — I’ll probably try just to think out loud and talk about whatever comes up”.
But he does admit the event should resonate with his newfound surroundings. “Absolutely, aye,” he says, “I do psychoanalysis and I’m a fan of Freud. Yeah, I have been [in analysis] for a very long time.”
Creed reveals he first saw an analyst in 1993: “I did it because I was desperate. I wanted to speak to someone.” Now he goes four times a week. “It’s a bit like going swimming or something like that: I think it’s an integral part of my life.”
At any rate, intensive therapy is clearly commensurate with a blue chip art career. This most exacting of artists views the activity as labour: “It’s work and I feel like I have to keep doing it.” This may come as some surprise, considering how effortless the artist’s official numbered works appear to be.
In 2001 he won the Turner Prize for Work No.227: The lights going on and off. It is hard to imagine a more coolly minimal work than an empty room alternating between light and darkness. Creed has a professional detachment which belies his sometime inner turmoil.
Nevertheless, when he agreed to take part in Museum’s at Night, the Freud Museum was his first choice. “I’ve always liked visiting there. I feel like it’s a nice place, you know?” he says. “Just seeing the consulting room and the stuff he had around.”
But for someone with experience of therapy, Freud’s consulting room might be something of a lion’s den. Therapy and performance are bound to overlap in such a historic setting. And what to make of the rumour that the founder of psychoanalysis didn’t even like music.
“I didn’t know that but I don’t believe that,” Creed is adamant. “And if he said that I don’t believe him.”
So then, what would Freud have thought of contemporary art itself? Surely he would have hated it? “I don’t know, maybe,” says Creed, then adds with a laugh: “I don’t know if I like it”.
But I remind the controversial artist that he once suggested that visitors should run around museums to see exhibits at speed. “I personally hate feeling as if I have to spend ages looking at things, as if I’ve got to be a good boy and read all the labels.
“The thing I like about museums is that you can come and go as you please, you know, especially if it’s free to get in,” he adds. “I like being able to go into a gallery and just see one painting and then go out again. I like that about galleries, as opposed to theatres where you’re stuck in your seat.”
This sense of duty is something the artist wrestles with in his work. With regard to public speaking, he refers to “the feeling I have to take responsibility, the feeling that I’m responsible for everything I do. It has repercussions because it affects other people.”
“Included in that feeling is a feeling of not wanting to be…sort of fake…because I sometimes have the feeling when I’m talking or when I’m working that I’m doing something somehow conventional — the usual — as if I’ve been programmed. I don’t want to be like that and it feels like a fight not to.”
As you can see, as a veteran of psychotherapy, Creed knows how to dissect an emotion. But strange to say, he aims to bring the results of such introspection back “into the world out of my little room on my own, because it’s scary and exciting and maybe it’s the way I learn about things really.”
“Basically I don’t want to be a w***er sitting at home, and actually I think that’s probably why I want to do exhibitions and gigs and talks and stuff — to basically work on things in the world outside of my own domain, to get out of the house” he says.
This calls to mind the celebrated slogan of Work No. 232, ‘the whole world + the work = the whole world’. It is something of a koan which makes you wonder about the unconscious origins of art or music. The metaphorical lights are sure to go on and off and on again when Creed does his thing.
Advance booking required for the May 16 event at the Freud Museum. Visit the gallery website for more. Piece written for Culture24.
Posted: April 15th, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: aggregation, contemporary art | No Comments »
Hello, it seems Spring has made a belated appearance. But if you’re not already enjoying the sun, here are some art links:
- Criticismism is sad this week (having learned that Catalan film director Bigas Luna is no longer with us). The Tit and the Moon is a personal favourite movie
- Timothy Taylor have an Antoni Tapies show and Contemporary Art Daily has a fine selection of installation shots. So more Catalan art here
- Next time you see a record breaking art sale make headlines, think twice about the health of the art market. Art Info tells you how to read those hyperbolic stories
- Salon carries disturbing news about a Beatles bootleg called “No Pakistanis”. The song eventually became “Get Back”. This story’s wild
- Stuart Jeffries from the Guardian spends time in a shed with Bedwyr Williams. The Welsh artist is always good for amusing observations
- New York Times, meanwhile, interviews Claes Oldenberg and finds an Old World European sensibility at work in the poppy hamburgers and ice cream cones
- This is pretty dumb and also pretty amazing. Hyperallergic record the Rembrandt-themed flashmob which launched the re-opening of the Rijksmuseum
- Musical interlude: AnimalNY brought you a tuneful supercut filled with the movie world’s best computer hackers. Secure your mainframes
- This is a good Q&A with an inspiring array of reference points: Lizzie Homersham interviews Salvatore Arancio for Aesthetica magazine
- And finally, Jill Steinhauer appears to blame the market for the rise of middlebrow art. She makes clear what is and what isn’t in this piece for Hyperallergic.
Posted: April 8th, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: aggregation, contemporary art | No Comments »
Hello and welcome to another round up of art-related links culled from the last seven days:
- Here’s a piece about death etiquette from the Guardian. Did have a link to the Heffner song, but paranoia struck.
- Film critics are generally more greatly missed that politicians anyway. Here’s a kind letter the late Roger Ebert sent to once very young fan Dana Stevens, now movie critic at Slate
- Unequivocal good news: the rebuilding of the Rijksmuseum is a triumph. Enjoy this spacious look around with @FisunGuner from The Arts Desk
- Der Spiegel writes about the growing importance of the cultural sector in Amsterdam and European cities beyond
- @cmonstah flagged up a shocking interview with architect Denise Scott Brown. If you didn’t know much about her, here’s why…
- When rural idylls go bad… the Guardian report from the trial of Graham Ovenden, the 70-year-old artist accused of child abuse
- Unicorn chaser might be needed after that. How about this daft contraption for sending emails via your flying V guitar
- Smithson write up a design history of the chess set. Could the game be making a comeback? Well, with a bit of help from Pentagram…perhaps
- Whether or not you like contemporary dance, this deserves a look. Dancer with osteoporosis Claire Cunningham incorporates crutches into her performance
- Reading Ben Street on painting is a close second best to actually looking at painting. Take this essay on Kiera Bennett, for example.
Posted: April 1st, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: aggregation, contemporary art | No Comments »
Happy Easter/April Fool’s Day/interminable winter. Here are some seasonable links from the online world of art:
- What might happen if Guernica came back to Britain today? Nigel Wheale writes an intriguing account of the painting’s first and last visit to these shores
- He lives in NYC, goes to 30 exhibitions a week, and still critic Jerry Saltz worries he might be getting out of touch. Read his alarming piece on the death of gallery shows
- An artist makes a very strong statement as to why she should never have to make another artist’s statements. A must read for practitioners everywhere from Hyperallergic
- Ruth Ewan gives Radio 4 a truly Utopian vision, even if it does get a little far fetched towards the end. But that’s what comes of working with teenagers (via @StudioVoltaire)
- Beautiful/Decay write up a Dutch sound sculpture which takes on an aspect of Eindhoven’s history of manufacturing. Features musical cigars
- It’s not quite kittens in boots, but We Make Money Not Art couldn’t resist these photos of dogs in cars, and neither could I
- Here’s another piece of spectacle: two famous Nick Caves come face to face in New York where one was staging an art performance the other a rock music gig
- So as to get anything done, the only way I enjoy console games is vicariously. But this YouTube review of BioShock Infinite could tempt anyone
- The strange story of the week was that a Picasso through which owner Steve Wynn had once put his elbow sold for more than he paid for it. See The Independent
- If you’re younger than 70 and you still haven’t made it in the art world, do not despair. Art Info notes a trend for pension-age breakthroughs by no less than six now well known artists.
Posted: March 29th, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: contemporary art, performance art, rock music | No Comments »
One of the best opening paragraphs I know is found in Great Jones Street by Don DeLillo. The novel meditates on a certain type of fame distinct from that enjoyed by either statesmen or kings.
No, this type of fame, “a devouring neon”, involves: “Hysteria in limousines, knife fights in the audience, bizarre litigation, treachery, pandemonium and drugs.” Yes, it is a book about a rock star.
Artist David Lamelas would surely recognise this checklist. It is all there in this work in which he appropriated the spotlight from a field of endeavour completely different to the visual arts.
The Argentine sculptor has dressed down for his role, borrowed a guitar and stolen the stage from an act like the Doors or Creedence Clearwater Revival, certainly something rootsy or bluesy.
In other words he attempts something authentic, because rock is obsessed with this quality. Its stars are queuing up to prove their convictions with overdoses, dependency issues and disappearances.
Lamelas makes a series of these photos, which serve as a record of a performative frenzy that never was. He pulls it off without having to compose, to practice, to endure life on the road.
“If the purpose of the photographs was to explore an element of fantasy, they were a triumph. Although his rock star was a cliché, he was totally convincing,” writes Stuart Morgan in Frieze.
But the results work on the viewer in a strange kind of silence. They cast us as fans, and extrapolate us as if we were in the pit of an auditorium, shoulder to shoulder, with hundreds.
Cue difference between rock and art, between the sharing of a ritual and the private consumption of a thing of beauty. Rock Star harks back to a neolithic time when no distinction could be made.
There’s a big trade in photos like this of real musicians. They adorn the walls of well-to-do fans who have outgrown their student posters. Why not? It’s an aesthetic choice you can’t argue with.
Yet with sculptural rigour, Lamelas has distilled a whole genre of music to a partially seen figure in the darkness with two props and a glaring light. Like Brancusi, he gives us the essential.
The entire Rock Star series can be seen in Glam! Performance of Style at Tate Liverpool until 12 May 2013. See gallery website for more details and read the words of a completely inimitable rock star from the Glam era: Noddy Holder from Slade, interviewed by the Guardian.
Posted: March 18th, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: aggregation, contemporary art | No Comments »
Salutations. This week’s art links are the usual mix between the topical and the wondrous.
- Topical: Here’s a sad story about the death of young Dominic Elliott, friend and assistant to David Hockney. The Independent reports.
- Also topical: the Guardian send music critic Alexis Petridis to review the record-breaking Bowie show at the V&A.
- Highly topical: a social minded architect from Japan has won the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Read about Toyo Ito in the New York Times.
- Sadly topical: the Guardian suggests that an education secretary who doesn’t like architecture very much could learn a thing or two from Oscar Niemeyer.
- Also with news currency, the Art Newspaper report that US has taken back the topspot in terms of art sales, from China (via Art Observed)
- Here’s something wondrous: photos of a lightning storm during the eruption of a volcano in Japan. Animal NY collates.
- Also quite cool to look at is this slide show of cowboy rephotographs by Richard Prince together with a Western soundtrack. This is almost not ironic.
- This is link of the week: Beautiful/Decay showcases the work of Gabriele Galinberti, who shoots portraits of kids along with their most prized possessions.
- Quietly wondrous: Art Wednesday interviews Polly Staple from Chisenhale Gallery. Amazing role call of debut shows.
- And very much finally. This photo of confiscated bootleg pharmaceuticals in China is both topical and wondrous. Thanks to Der Spiegel.
Posted: March 15th, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: contemporary art, sound art | No Comments »
Given the vast technological resources made available to those who wish to explore outer space, an analogue vinyl album seems like a less than adequate way to respond to the cosmos.
But in fact Yird Muin Starn is comprehensive in its dealings with such matters as star constellations, the Apollo missions, lunar cycles, the Pioneer probe and supersonic air travel.
The LP opens with a spoken word account of the landing of the Possil meteorite, which fell on the outskirts of Glasgow in 1804. So space cannot be ignored even if you were a 19th century Scot.
Other standout tracks include an Old Scots poem called Tae the Moon, which reads brilliantly even if a bit incomprehensible at time. Yird Muin Starn transates as Earth, Moon, Stars.
Flying to the Sun is just as witty. McIntosh’s vocal gets out of sync until Matthew’s drops a stalking bassline on the track. This underpins the humorous narrative of an eight year voyage to the sun.
Elsewhere vocals take a back seat to make way for instrumental tracks such as Betelgeuse to Rigel, Star Stream or Seven Sisters. These sound improvised or generative, whether they be or no.
Penetrating tones, solar wind interference, electrons rattling in a tube, re-entry static, early home computing tones, liquid silver: these are all the impressions which Yird Muin Starn leaves you with.
The album may be challenging at times, but it is never without humour and interest. You can learn much from this collaboration between artists Matthews and McIntosh.
You may not have been aware that the moon is slowly working its way free of our orbit; or that the woman on the pioneer plaque is missing an intimate part of her anatomy. I hope both facts are true.
But when you’re strapped for cash, you need a bit humour to explore outer space with. Yird Muin Starn also gives its name to a public artwork by the duo in Galloway Forest.
This site is Europe’s first Sky Park, with zero light polution and reclining Sky gazers where you can sit back and voyage to your hearts content. There are even space suits you can book out.
It sounds like the most fun you could have with someone else’s clothes on. Were this blog not composed in South East England, I’d be there like a shot, with headphones rather than a telescope.
Yird Moon Starn, the album is available from the Annette Works label. More info on the project can be found here.
Posted: March 13th, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: contemporary art, mass media, sculpture | No Comments »
It’s a freedom of speech issue. If you are a global corporation like IKEA you can afford to take out a full page in a national broadsheet. If you are a little known artist you can barely afford to reply.
What IKEA tells us some 200,000 times at a go is that Harry’s passion now runs to several metres: “Harry’s passion for music has reached new levels,” the headline informs us, “Floor to ceiling.”
In other words, his record collection has been housed by the Swedish furnishers. There he stands, stunned by his newfound archive, his one passion definitively domesticated.
Nevermind that Harry doesn’t exist. He is an arbitrary name pinned on an aspirational model. The headline is a lie or a fiction; there should be no place for either in the Guardian.
Bartlett’s response is to the claim is to rip out the page and recontextualise it. So Harry’s new place of residence is taped onto a disassembled and upturned IKEA table in a non commercial art gallery.
If it wasn’t already clear where to look, Bartlett has sheathed a wooden stick in foil and pointed it in the direction of Harry, whose only aim in life is to entomb himself in vinyl.
Bartlett describes himself as a sculptor and treats the daily paper as a 3D object. His work relates to both the everyday materials of Arte Povera and Gustav Metzger’s engagement with Page Three.
What both artists demonstrate is how little mass media can survive scrutiny in an art gallery, be that the hallowed chambers of the RA or the down at heel basement premises of CAC.
This is surely payback for all the nausea of consuming media. The Harry ad is not half as smart as it thinks it is. But at least some dozen visitors to a Brighton gallery can see that for what it is.
Disclosure: Bartlett describes himself as an anti-copywriter whereas I have plied the dreaded trade in earnest before now. It was inevitable that Harry and his ilk would come up at some point.
Harry from IKEA was a centrepiece at recent Work Project 7, Community Arts Centre (CAC), Brighton. It was on show last weekend only. Sad face
Posted: March 11th, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: aggregation, contemporary art | 1 Comment »
Greetings from snow-gripped Brighton. Here’s my weekly selection of links better not missed:
- Firstly, everyone must see this Fox News report as discovered by Art Fag City: George W. Bush as an emerging artist
- Still Stateside, I enjoyed at least two reports about the Armory show in New York, both from Art Info: the first about a spate of freebie Warholesque Brillo Boxes, the second about some critical work by Liz Magic
- Meanwhile in the UK and on the pages of The Telegraph, Mark Hudson muses on the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been urged to collect contemporary art. But of course, they would have to buy British
- Another state of the nation type link: an iconic Picasso currently on show at the Courtauld is due to leave these shores for Qatar. Story in the Independent
- Obligatory reference to Bowie coming right up: Jon Savage writes in the Guardian about a historic meeting between the other worldly singer and William Burroughs
- Fans of Twitter and/or great writing would do well to follow @tejucole. Here’s an interview with the Nigerian/American micro-blogger and novelist from Mother Jones (Thanks @johannhari101)
- Meaning to see this show, but in the meantime there’s a positive review with some great unearthed quotes on art-Corpus: Carl Andre at Turner Contemporary
- This must be every art buff’s dream. The curatorial team at the Met bought a $700 dollar copy of a painting by David. But not before spotting it was a preparatory sketch worth six figures
- Phaidon write up a new piece of public art in Hyde Park. Two precarious rocks by Fischli and Weiss on show for the time being outside Serpentine
- Not content with mining uranium, uranium miners in Australia are threatening much celebrated sites of Aboriginal rock art. The Guardian reports.
Posted: March 7th, 2013 | Author: Mark Sheerin | Filed under: contemporary art, film installation, geopolitics, marxism | No Comments »
Left-leaning liberals from middle class homes should hate the discourse which runs through Final Machine by Amanda Beech. Instead it could give them a masochistic thrill.
The action runs fast, the soundtrack faster. This is punctuated by gunshots, not always easy or even possible to follow the arguments. But you catch enough to get the gist.
Here is a celebration of black ops. There is a justification of real politik. The American drawl adds to the flavour of tooled up expediency. Everything we know is wrong, in the world of this piece at least.
But no one should be surprised if we have had to leave some of our humanistic tendencies at the door of LGP. The script, for there is a lengthy one, comes in part from CIA training lectures.
And it’s been sliced together with the text of a book by philosopher Louis Althusser. So they might even trick you into signing up. Come for the Marxist theory; stay for the right wing coups.
Visually the piece is just as enticing/compelling. It unfolds on three consecutive screens: red, amber, green, just as if arranged to programme us to GO.
Because you will see things you won’t forget: RVs gathering to sinister purpose in the Mojave desert, modernist architecture lost in unspecified jungle, a highway running through nocturnal Miami.
The impression of spy craft is enhanced by the visual motif of the moving circle behind which the action unfolds. You half expect a corrupt, brutally pragmatic Bond to appear with revolver in hand.
He doesn’t but the piece goes on. The bullet reports are exhilarating: perhaps not meant for us, at least not yet. Movie goers will side with anyone, given enough aural popcorn and visual punch.
Final Machine can be seen at Lanchester Gallery Projects, Coventry, until 31 March. See gallery website for more details.