tate modern extra bits

nicholas cerota from the tate and architectural überlords herzog & du meuron have ‘unveiled’ the plans for the tate modern ‘bit on the side’.

as much as i love previous work of theirs, as you may have guessed, i’m non-plussed about it. i’ll certainly be interested to see how it pans out and what it really looks like, but the current concept maps and mock-ups leave me feeling a little bit, well, fifth element, to be honest.

i know, i’m a philistine.

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i don’t care who banksy is

Flower power by Banksy

there. i said it.

in fact, even if it is robin something-or-rather and there are supposed photos, i don’t wanna know.

the man has become a sleb without having a more tangible physical identity, so can we just let it stay that way, for god’s sake.

it’s almost like the only way your MOR appreciators and press can deal with a big deal is if they can write, robin such-and-such from bristol, 35. box, ticked. category fit, actual person to focus on and not the message.

the fact that his ‘elusive identity’ and the search to unhand that has become such an issue is COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT, people!

grumble, grumble, grouch, grounch.

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public art, public opinion: the fourth plinth

The kids over at the We Made This blog have done a great post on the Fourth Plinth project happening in London’s Trafalgar Square. It’s a public sculpture project, with a shortlist chosen by experts, exhibited at the National Gallery and open to consultation with the public. Luckily, it’s in London and has the involvement of the National and the Mayor of London/GLA, making it somewhat more refined and educated than something with audience participation like that would end up being here (think Australian Idol vs The Archibald).

Which i think is a bit of a shame, really. Seeing as work is created with public funds and is in the public domain, having the public take some ownership of it by having a say in its selection makes sense. In theory.

The reality here is that a larger proportion of the Australian population don’t give a fuck about art, don’t know anything about it, don’t want to even consider paying for it out of their precious possible-loan-repayment money and don’t listen when it is explained why good public art makes a difference to a city.

Which is such a pity, because there is a dearth of good public art sculpture out there (especially in Melbourne, a city brimming with good sculptural artists) and as discussed in a recent (suprisingly decent) Australian Art Review article, those responsible for commissioning the works are largely bureaucratic, unaware and narrow minded. Imagine if the process became a collaboration between curators, museums, artists and an appreciative public, like the Fourth Plinth project? This city’s reputation for public sculpture could almost match its reputation for street art, fine art, music, culture and general funky goodness.

Oh and as much as I would love to see a family of Trace’s meerkats hanging out on the plinth at Trafalgar Square, I’m going for Jeremy Deller’s Spoils of War. Register your opinion over here if you like.

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proxy required

Can someone in London please do me a favour and be a proxy me for a couple of hours by doing these three things in my absence? I’d do them myself, but for the slight problem of distance:

.1. go to Lisson Gallery and see the Santiago Sierra show there. He’s an amazing artist who does great politically-charged installation work (including in the Korean DMZ and in the UAE). He’ll also be doing a sound work on Bell St (right near Edgeware Rd tube station).

.2. buy and read this month’s Creative Review. It’s a cheap special with an article I’d love to read with Will Gompertz from Tate Galleries on life as a client (mmm..Fallon and Tate, with sexy results).

3. hang out at the Green Man pub on Berwick St, talking shit with Will, Seb and Nina until the owner guy loses it and chucks you out, after which you wander around the streets of Soho, large chai latte in hand, late into the night.


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election reminder

This is a reminder specifically for all the Australians in London at the moment to vote on Saturday’s federal election.
It’s easy, head down to Australia House on the Strand (corner of Aldwych) and pop a postal vote in the box.

Considering that 2% of our population live in London, that’s a pretty hefty swing.

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you mean i should probably talk about art?

sometimes i like to call myself an artist. but you wouldn’t know that from the random stuff that i’ve been posting about lately. so i thought, in the spirit of getting back to basics, i might post about some shows i’ve seen. how’s that for a novel idea?

Louise Bourgeois
Tate Modern

I always stumble over the spelling of Bourgeois. I put a ‘u’ in where it’s not wanted and an extra ‘e’ sometimes. And not enough ‘o’s – it’s all just wrong. And even when i spell it right, i still looks wrong. But then again, in some way, it endears me to her name. In the same way that her uncomfortable images and the squishy, squelchy, fuck corporeality of her sculptures endears me to her as an artist. [see what i did there?]

I went to see the latest survey of her work at the Tate Modern on one of the last days I was in London and I’m so glad I had the chance to do so. Feltbug treated me to a day as her members’ guest – including scruptious brunch in the lounge with the amazing views on the 6th floor.

I’m only a recent fan of Bourgeois’ work. I’d only ever seen a few bits and pieces – documentation of a few of her cells and the black Cumul piece – and and to be perfectly honest, i wasn’t quite sure what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t until my friend and co-curator, Moira Kirkwood, suggested practically ordered me to check out her works, especially the Red Rooms, that I came to love this french artist.

The early works of hers I love the most are actually her drawings – they show a conscientiousness and a committment to thinking and process that I admire and respect. The point at which her sculptures really spark my heart are just before she gave birth to Louis, her first child. You begin to see the motifs she uses in her later work and the work takes on a more mature, yet grittier feel.

And from then on, she just rocks. Even when her style or materials take a wide swing, you can still feel that it’s on the same path. Works like her Janus, which look like two ends of a penis joined together under a collar, are still clearly part of the same process as the large doorframe installations that are the Red Rooms. She continues to use curves and sex and emptiness right the way through her career and it’s this return to these themes, again and again, which give her work a solidity and presence.

Favourite works of mine includeEnd of Softness, a bubbly, jubbly, wobbly work in bronze with a gold patina; the Janus Fleuri from 1968, the white version of the Cumul I and the Passage Dangereux from 1997, one of her first ‘cells’ and the first one which I had seen and understood its power and relationship to her investigation into psychoanalysis. In fact it looked like a sculptural representation of surrealist work by Tristian Tzara or Frida Kahlo.

After her mother’s early death, critical writing of her works always mention the huge influence that her philandering father had on her work and the rage that she had for him. However, it became extremely obvious to me that, in fact, the greatest influence on her work may actually be her child and the act of being a mother. The taboo nature of the body is replaced with a detached pragmatism and unconditional love of the icky bits of the body and the mind.

There was only one thing that annoyed me about the show and that was a piece of wall text that said “fabric has no structure”. To which my only possible response was “bullshit”. It confirmed what I always thought about wall-text, in that it often has undue influence over the viewer. However, that, my friends, is for another time.

The cabinet of curiosities in the final room of the show is fantastic and nicely concludes the show – like a well written final paragraph. It includes small works from right throughout her career, plus more of her drawings and domestic works and the video documentary outside in the cafeteria was so insightful and lovely, i’ll have to find it for myself and watch it all the way through.

Apart from her amazing work, one of the major reasons I loved going to see this show was to have my life as a female artist validated. Louise is still alive at 96, still making work, is still inspiring and her career only really took off in her late 40s. Longevity counts and this show is a testament to that. What a great role model to look up to.

all images pinched from the Tate Modern website. check it out for the room by room walk through of the showthanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx