Monday, 20 June 2011

On contemporary art's (strange) relationship to the past

Contemporary art can sometimes feel like a completely new thing. It’s surprising, sometimes, to realise it’s only the latest way of thinking visually we’ve been able to come up with. Paranoiac art historians, eager to stress the academic credentials of a subject once thought ‘soft’ (Calvin Tomkins’ 2001 profile of Kirk Varnedoe for The New Yorker outlines the anxiety of the male art historian nervous about the feminizing influence of all those pretty pictures) hide in the murky maze of research, safe in their bastions of specialization. This is not to suggest that academic art history has had a pernicious influence on the way art is shown and seen; the benefits of the subject are obvious and need not be discussed. Rather, that an overly historicist approach, born of a fear of not being taken seriously, has placed art-historical artifacts into distinct compartments, and that compartmentalization threatens to cut contemporary art from its moorings and push it away from the centre of culture, like an enormous yacht gently turning in the middle of the ocean.

Read the whole article (at Art21) here.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Sluice Art Fair 15-16th Oct 2011

Below are details about my new venture with the artist Karl England.

Sluice is a new art fair in an expansive space in the heart of the West End gallery district. Showcasing emerging artist- and curator-run galleries, Sluice will present the most exciting new artistic discoveries from across the United Kingdom and abroad.

Sluice will provide an informal and accessible temporary platform for young galleries to exhibit their artists’ work, to gain exposure and encourage dialogue between artists, galleries, and audiences. Located in central London, a few minutes' walk from Bond Street Underground station, Sluice is free and open to all.

Organised by an artist and an art writer and curator, Sluice is both exhibition space and platform for discussion and creation. Art-making workshops for children and young people will be run over the weekend, and a series of performances and talks will be held in the space.

Follow Sluice Art Fair on Twitter @sluiceartfair
Or via Facebook (Sluice Art Fair)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

On Tony Tasset's 'Judy'

Tony Tasset’s Judy, currently on show at the Leo Koenig Projekte Space in Chelsea, New York, is a six-minute 35mm film of the artist’s artist wife, Judy Ledgerwood. Against an out-of-focus backdrop of what might be a rose bush (nodding to Ledgerwood’s own paintings), her head tilted, the subject stares into the camera. Two things happen in sequence: she smiles, very slightly, and a small inverted ‘v’ of concern appears between her eyebrows. The camera moves in, almost imperceptibly; a breeze catches the wisps of hair at her temples; the film is over.

Read the whole piece (at Art21) here.